Introducing Our New Kitten To The Household

by Melissa R. on November 4, 2009

3 Happy Cats!

3 Happy Cats!

We were going to be bringing home our new kitten soon, and I wanted to be prepared. I don’t know much about cat behavior, so I started researching how to introduce a new cat to a household with two other cats. I wasn’t sure if it was like a puppy – just bring them home basically….Turns out I was wrong about that!

How to introduce your new kitten to a multi-cat household:

  1. Allow no face to face interaction when you first bring home the new cat.
  2. Put the new cat in a separate room and close the door. Have a litter box, food, water, bed and toys available for them.
  3. There will be some hissing, and posturing around the door by all the cats. This is normal. Let them do it. They need to get used to each other’s scent.
  4. Try to feed the cats near the door, so that they start to associate the new cat with something good: food. Give them treats by the door as well.
  5. Rub a towel on the new cat, and then rub that towel on the existing cats as well. This helps them become accustomed to the new scent. Place blankets or towels that have the new cat’s scent around the home.
  6. Put the existing cats in the new cat’s room, and let the new cat out to roam around the house for awhile. This continues to enforce the new cat’s scent around the house, and the other cats can take time to get used to it in the room.
  7. Once most of the hissing has stopped (how long this takes depends on your cats), you can carefully introduce the new cats. I found it best to do this with food & treats.

Now, all of this sounds well and good….but when we brought our new kitten home; we thought she was so sweet and cute, how could the other cats not love her too? So, we ignored all the rules we had learned and just plopped her down in the living room.

What ensued was not in the best interests of any cats! Hissing, screaming, growling, howling, puffed up kitties! I had no idea they all had it in them! We quickly scooped up the kitten and sequestered her in the office, happy to get her away without injury.

Three days later, after adhering to all the “rules”, we had three happy cats all laying on the bed purring and sleeping all day. There is still a hiss here or there, but as each day passes, we see more and more improvement. The other day we saw one of the older cats playing with the kitten a bit, so I think they will soon all be best friends.


About the author: Melissa is a devoted pet owner with several cats: Kai, Cirrhi & Ritter; and the newest addition, Emme a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Melissa is an avid dog agility enthusiast, and hopes her new pup will someday be an agility champion! She is a Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator for the DrsFosterSmith.com and LiveAquaria.com websites. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Michigan State University and is a lifelong pet lover and owner. See more articles by Melissa R.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa November 4, 2009 at 9:06 am

I am happy to report our new kitten has settled in well and she and the black cat, Kai, play together constantly! They love to go tearing around the house chasing each other. It is so much fun to watch. And best of all – a few nights ago, they were sleeping together and using each other for pillows!

Naomi July 8, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Me and my partner have followed these steps but it is the kitten that keeps hissing at the other cats, it’s making the existing cats his at each other which has never happened D: any ideas?

Melissa R. July 11, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Sounds completely normal, Naomi. Just be sure to keep an eye on things. You can try distracting everyone with toys or treats. Everybody will settle down in a little bit of time. Sometimes it takes longer than others.

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