Nothing is quite as cute as a sweet, playful kitten. However, bringing a new kitten home to your other pets requires a bit of planning so that everything goes well. Although you may want all your furry babies to get along, cats, like people, have personalities, and some work well together, and some do not. Here are some tips to make the integration as smooth as possible.
SET UP A SAFE SPACE
Before bringing your new kitten home, set up a safe area with some toys, food, litter, and a bed so they can have a safe space to feel at home. Make sure you can close this space off from other animals until you are ready to introduce your new family member to other pets.
Since animals use smell to acclimate, rub a blanket over your new kitty and let the other animals sniff it to get used to his or her scent. Do the same for your kitten using toys or blankets from your older pets.
INTRODUCE YOUR PETS SLOWLY
Use a pet crate or gate where the animals can see or smell each other but aren’t face-to-face to allow them to get used to one another. In some cases, they will be fast friends quickly, and in others, they may simply tolerate each other. You never know how it is going to go, so it’s best to take things slowly. Pet each animal separately while they get to know each other; this will help put them at ease.
WATCH OUT FOR SQUABBLING
Once you do allow them time together in the same room (especially a kitten with other cats), watch out for hissing, growling, and other signs of aggression. Distract each animal to refocus their anger and fear but don’t pick them up; you may get injured. Often dogs will adjust to a kitten much better than an older cat who may be territorial. You may use a spray bottle of water to break up the behavior. Supervise them and watch carefully, so none of the older pets hurts the baby kitty.
PLENTY OF LITTER BOXES FOR EVERYONE
Be sure to have a litter box for each cat. Cats are not very good at sharing, and this may help eliminate any problems and fighting. If cats are forced to share a litter box, they may act out in messy ways.
GIVE ATTENTION TO ALL CREATURES
Some cats are not social creatures and don’t need or want companionship, but they know you belong to them. So, be sure to give your existing pets plenty of attention and love and let them know that this new kitten won’t change anything.
There is no perfect formula for how long it will take for your pets to accept the new situation. Be patient and loving to your new kitten and your older pets; give everyone time to adjust. Consult your vet if any serious issues arise.