Kitten Tips – Introducing a New Kitten to Other Cats in the Household

cats playing

Tips from our Indianapolis Veterinarian

Most kittens receive a hostile reception from other household pets, especially from another cat.  The other cat usually sees no need for a kitten in the household.  The existing cat must not feel that it is necessary to compete for food or attention. 

The new kitten should have its own food and food bowl, and it should not be permitted to eat from the other cats bowl.  There should be additional litter pans added as well. 

The general rule is that the number of litter pans in the house should equal the number of cats plus one.  The introduction period will usually last one to two weeks and will have one of three possible outcomes.

  1. The existing cat will remain hostile to the kitten.  Fighting may occur occasionally, especially if both try to eat out of the same bowl at the same time.  This is an unlikely occurrence if competition for food and affection are minimized during the first few weeks.
  2. The existing cat will only tolerate the kitten.  Hostility will cease, but the existing cat will act as if the kitten is not present.  This is more likely if the existing cat is very independent, has been an only cat for several years, or if marked competition occurred during that first few weeks.  This relationship is likely to be permanent.
  3. Bonding will occur between the existing cat and the kitten.  They will play together, groom each other, and sleep near each other.

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