Introducing a New Kitten
To Your Other Pets and Home

Meeting the Family for the First Time!

Time for the big day! Here are some tips for introducing a new kitten. With a little preparation, the introduction process should be smooth sailing.

introducing a new kitten

Try introducing a new kitten when you have some time on your hands. It's important to be home in case you're needed.

Weekends and holidays are the best times for bringing a new kitten home, if you usually work away from home on weekdays. Mornings are good, for the same reason.

Have the home quiet. He may be scared, and will be cautious at first. Give him some space from loud noise, music, media or young children, and no other pets should be introduced for a while.

The kitten may want to hide at first. He will soon build confidence, and explore these new surroundings when he's ready.

small maine coon kittens

Taking things slowly in the first week will give you the best chance for a successful introduction. The good news is that young kittens are very adaptable and usually acclimate to their new home easily!

Positive associations: If you've been visiting your kitten at the cattery, maybe you've left a towel or blanket behind on one of those visits. Now, you can put it into his bed. As he settles into his new home he has those familiar smells for comfort.

You will want to set up a separate room, or safe room, for your new kitten(s). A spare bedroom works great for this first couple of days. It's a good idea to also add a baby gate on one side of the door to ensure no early face-to-face meetings. Cats and kittens are sneaky!

We set up our kittens in the laundry room on the first day. It's a small room, but it was the only room that could be totally theirs. They crept out of the cat carrier cautiously. I didn't do any laundry for a while! Once they were super comfortable with that room, they bravely ventured further into this new environment each time, on their own terms.

two maine coon kittens playing on the floorAlice and Leo in the laundry room on their first day


Introducing a New Kitten To Dogs

Do you have a dog? Introducing a new kitten to a dog can be much easier than you might imagine. Mature, calm dogs generally don't have much interest in kittens. And little kittens have no fear! They will happily chase the tail of, and snuggle with a nice dog.

When I was young, I had a Sheltie named Bonny. She was in her prime, meaning very active! She ran a lot. We added an awesome red tabby kitten to the family. Boy, they chased each other all over the house, day and night. I had to name him Clyde! They remained best buddies and very bonded for their whole lifetimes.

As much as we hope they will become best friends, not all dogs are the same. Only you know your pet! My next Sheltie was a chaser, but not in a chase-and-be-chased fun game kind of way. She was just a chaser. Our Coonies didn't like it!

If your dog is well-meaning but young and rough, you'll need to supervise until the kitten is older and sturdier. Along with discouraging any aggressive behavior, also discourage any signs of aggression and any chasing at this time.

It will quickly establish a dynamic where your cat will run and hide from your dog permanently. It's fun for the dog, but a stressful and unhappy situation for the cat.

If you suspect your dog would not be compatible with a kitten, you're probably right. Consider carefully, before taking the plunge into bringing home a new kitten.


Introducing A New Kitten To Other Cats

tiny tabby maine coon kitten

As with dogs, this is partly dependent on the personality of your older cat. In most cases, you can expect your cat and kitten to develop mutual respect and hopefully, even friendship.

Maine Coons are particularly laid back and non-territorial, and generally see no threat from cute fuzzy kittens. They seem to know their own kind!

Still, introducing a new kitten to a resident cat should be handled with care.

Obviously, you can't prepare your adult cat for the new arrival. It's very helpful to keep them in separate spaces at first. Try to have your older cat confined to a closed room when you enter the house. Then place your kitten in his confined place, with his own food and water bowls, litter box and scratching post if desired.

Lastly, let your current cat loose and watch her behavior. She will probably pick up the new scent and know exactly where the kitten is. If she sits by the door curiously, great!

If she sticks her paw under to play with the kitten, lucky you! This is a great time to break out the treats.

If your first cat shows signs of stress, that's ok too. Just give her time and lots of positive reinforcement. If there ever was a time to spoil your older cat with treats and attention, this is it!

Once you are sure your first cat is not stressed about the situation (and this could take a while!) it's time to let them see each other.

Hold the kitten up and let the your cat see him. Use your judgment to decide if the cat can come and sniff the kitten. Take it from there! It all comes down to utilizing separate locations, reading your older cat's reactions, understanding if she's stressed, and generally being in tune with her.

Use Positive Experiences: In cat introductions, it is very helpful for your existing cat to associate the kitten with good things. After initial introductions, but before they are actually together, try feeding them on each side of the pet gate or screen door where they can see each other with visual contact. Move the food bowls closer to the gate and each other over time.

How Long Does it Take a Cat to Get Used to a New Kitten?

The amount of time can vary from virtually immediate friendship to a couple of weeks, to months or even years.

But the good news is that adult cats tend to be more accepting of new kittens than of another full grown cat. Some folks say it helps to get a kitten of the opposite gender.

You could also consider using your sanctuary room fostering cats or kittens. This is a great way to help out, and also to see how your established cat behaves.


Bringing Home a New Kitten:

little black maine coon kitten

During your first days with your kitten, you may notice he has a case of the sniffles. This can happen, due to stress. Just wipe his eyes or nose, and it'll clear up.

Also, some new owners notice diarrhea in kittens. Don't be alarmed! Diarrhea in kittens can happen.

Contact your vet, you may be able to take care of it with an over-the-counter drugstore remedy, if recommended.

When bringing home a new kitten, fleas may come with her. This is not uncommon, it happens to the best of breeders.

This is because flea medication can't be given to nursing cats or newborn kittens, up to a certain weight. If you've brought home kittens with fleas, call the vet.

Some good flea medication will take care of it quickly. This is another good reason for your kitten to have her own room for a while.

Many cats don't like sharing a litter tray. To help keep your first cat happy, have at least one litter box per feline, plus one extra in the home.

Kittens climb on everything! They chew anything and everything, too. Make sure to utilize their safe space, which is free of hazards (such as electrical cords), whenever you are away from the home or asleep.

Brining home a new pet is one of the most exciting times. Introducing a new kitten can be easy! Make sure to lavish plenty of attention and tasty treats on your older pets, too. Hopefully they will soon be good friends.

Enjoy this special time with your kitten and remember to take lots of pictures!

More:

  • Kitten Proofing Your Home: Printable Checklist

    Kitten proofing your home isn't usually the first thing we think of when getting a new kitten, but we should! A curious kitten can get into all sorts of trouble!

  • Maine Coon Kittens

    All about Maine Coon Kittens! Find kitten names, learn about taking care of kittens, what to expect, safety, introducing a new kitten, the cost of a purebred pet, and more.

  • Taking Care of Kittens: What You'll Need

    Taking care of kittens requires love, and a trip to the store! Do you have everything you need? Use our handy checklist to help choose the right stuff!

Top of Introducing a New Kitten

author signature
author signature