Introducing Kitty to your Pet
Congratulations on bringing your new kitty home! If you have adopted a kitty to be a companion to your current cat or other pets in the home, please read the following VERY carefully in order to successfully create a positive experience for all your furry friends.
Under NO CIRCUMSTANCE should you ever bring a new pet home and just let them wander around your house or immediately meet your cat or dog! Also, NEVER put them in your bedroom right away if you have another pet! This will cause major problems in your household!
This can create devastating results and make a negative, long lasting impression on your pets. Treat your new kitty like your own child. You would not take your kid to a playground, drop them off and say, "Go have fun, meet some new friends and don't fight! I'll be back later to pick you up!"
All animals have territorial rights and are very protective them and of their humans. It does take time for new pets to like each other and get along. It can take days, weeks or in some cases months for this to occur. With a little patience and understanding of your pets needs, you can create new friendships in no time at all.
Please read the following instructions CAREFULLY.
DO NOT skip a step!
10 Steps To Introducing Kittens to Adult Cats:
(5-7 days minimum process)
Adapted from: www.wvcats.com
Please do not rush this introduction process! A MINIMUM time frame of 5 to 7 days will be needed to allow the new pets to meet, but be aware that some will need much more time to feel comfortable. TAKE YOUR TIME and remember, your primary cat is ALWAYS our 1st concern when we do adoptions. It is actually better to make the kitties wait this time frame before meeting each other. They will feel much more comfortable if you do!
It can take 2 to 4 weeks to integrate older cats and kittens!
- Isolation: Isolate the new kitty completely for 3-5 days in a "Safe Room" with no contact with your pet. DO NOT put them in your bedroom. This a major insult to your current pet. The bathroom is a great place to start because it is small and the kitty will feel more comfortable. Large rooms for any kitty are very scary and can cause them to get too nervous and they may end up hurting themselves and you. When the kitty is in the "safe room," even if they cry or scratch at the door - DO NOT let kitty out to roam the house or meet the other pets until you have completed ALL OF THE STEPS listed here. Put the safety needs of your new kitty and your pet first before your desire to play and have fun.
- Scent Familiarization: Animals relate to each other by smell not sight. After a few days, use "scent familiarization" by taking a towel and then rubbing it on each cat. After you rub the towel on the new kitty, take it out of the safe room and place it in an area for the primary cat to explore and smell. Take a new towel and rub on your own cat and put in the safe room for the new kitty to smell. Do this towel swapping for at least 1 to 2 days - DO NOT introduce kitty to your pet yet.
- Room Swapping: Next you will be switching the cats from the room they are located in the most for 15 minutes every day. Take each cat and switch places with no physical contact between them. This will allow even more scent familiarization.
- Visual Familiarization: After this time, you can allow the cats to see each other with no physical contact, such as from a slightly cracked opened door or with one of the cats in a carrier or cage for a few minutes only.
- Develop Positive Associations: Start developing positive associations with no physical contact, such as feeding the cats on opposite sides of a door when cracked opened and even when it is shut.
- Short Supervised Visits: When you feel they are ready and tensions are lowered, you can have brief, highly supervised visits paired with food or treats. Let the kitties get to know each other out in same room for a short time each day. DO NOT leave them alone together, especially overnight!
- Separation at Signs of Hostility: Separate the cats at signs of hostilities or great fear. Learn how to read your cat’s body language to tell when a problem is starting. Do NOT let them fight it out!
- Longer Supervised Visits: You can allow mingling under very careful supervision for up to a few hours a day before total separation again. Adjust the length of time depending upon whether there are any signs of hostilities or stress, but no matter how well things seem, do not yet permit 24/7 free mingling.
- Limited Free Mingling: Free mingling between the pets except when the people are not home or asleep, so quick intervention can be done if needed.
- Free Mingling Full Time: The cats are now ready to be together freely all of the time when all the above steps have gone well. Go back to the "limited mingling" if the cats weren't quite ready to be together all the time.
If you have followed all steps completely, you will have successfully integrated your new kitty into your home. When the kitties start grooming and sleeping with each other, then you can be assured that your integration was a success.