You have decided to adopt a new little kitten and you are wondering how your cat will react? Here is some advice to introduce the newcomer to your longtime companion.
Cats are territorial animals, who do not like changes in their environment, and in particular the arrival of a new companion. Wheezing and coughing, your living room can quickly turn into a battlefield. Here are some tips to handle this cohabitation.
First thing first:
If you want to have two cats, it is best to adopt them at the same time, or adopt the second as soon as possible. Acceptance will be easier if there is not a big age difference between the two cats. An old cat will not like the playfulness of a kitten. Playing and fighting are part of the normal behaviour for a kitten but it may upset your older cat. Moreover, if your first cat is still young, adaptation to the newcomer will be easy. It is estimated that before the age of 4, a cat very easily accepts the arrival of a new cat.
Rivalry between males
In general cats of the opposite sex are more accepting, and cohabitation between females is generally pretty good. Sterilization tends to reduce conflict . However, the rivalry between two males is always important. Males, even neutered, are very territorial. The important thing to consider is the personality of your two cats. The character of the new cat should "stick" as much as possible to the elder's.
Plan the kitten's arrival
The introduction of new kitten should be carefully planned. Ensure that all the vaccines are up to date. Most cats are not ready to accept a new member in the family, and they need time to get used to the idea. It is important to be patient and not rush things.
Isolate the newcomer
It is a good idea to isolate the newcomer for the first 2 days upon arrival. In a room with a window, place a fresh bowl of water, and food, and bed and your new cat's litter. Cats need to explore their environment before being able to interact socially. Sit quietly and let them approach you, without forcing the contact. Visit your cat 3 or 4 times a day in their room.
Reassure your old companion
Your cat may start to growl when they smell you because of the 'intruder's' smell on your clothes. They will probably sniff the door behind which the new cat is. It is important to behave with your cat in the usual way, by giving them time and reassuring them. When you feel that your cat is accustomed to the limited availability of the newcomer, it is time to proceed to the second step, that is to say, introducing them to each other without physical contact.
Finally introduce them to each other when you feel that they are calm enough. If they start fighting, clap your hands or shout in order to frighten them, without trying to intervene by taking a cat in your arms. The entire process can take from several days to several months or more. Patience is key!
Identify signs of anxiety
You should watch for signs of stress. Excessive grooming or vomiting after meals, for example are signs of anxiety. It is important to provide two litters and two separate dining areas to reduce stress.
Over time, they can "make a truce" and even get closer ( grooming each other or even resting together). They may end up becoming the best friends...