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How To Introduce A New Kitten To An Older Cat

That first meeting of a new kitten to your family cat can be a bit of a worry. I've owned both female and male kittens when I've had an older cat of the opposite sex and it's always been tense. There are people who say that once your cat has been neutered it won't matter there sex. Perhaps that's true for some people but it didn't work for me. Others say that they will get along better if they're opposites but I have found that on a couple of occasions this hasn't worked. When I had an older male cat and brought home a female kitten he was petrified. As small as she was she made it clear from the start that she was in charge. Poor old man. So when he passed away and I looked at getting a friend for her I thought I'd do it the other way round and look for a male kitten. That didn't work either. She soon put him in his place. However, now that he's a big boy and has fallen head over heels in love with her they get on better. Of course she will still hold him down when he's missed a bit when washing, but apart from that they both enjoy each others company.

So what can you do to give the new member of your family a head start with the resident cat.

Firstly make sure you have some time to devote to settling them in. They will become anxious if you're not around enough. Remember they've just been separated from their mother and this new home is dauntingly large and has new smells they don't recognise.

Then choose a room for the kitten to stay in for a few days. Buy a new litter tray, bed, scratch post and cat toys. It's not advisable to use anything from the other cat as the kitten needs to start off establishing his own scent on his toys. Also use new cat bowls for food and water. Don't let the other cat in the room. They will sense that the other is there and that will be enough for them to cope with in the beginning. It will let them both get used to the others scent without having to meet straight away.

Act as normal as possible with your other cat. Of course when they come to you give them lots of affection, it will be needed and the occasional treat will be greatly received. They won't let you forget that they are the top cat. It will also make it easier when the kitten is introduced as the other cat will feel more secure that you love them just as much as you did before.

After a while you can bring an item to your cat that your new kitten has been playing with and vice versa to help with scent swapping.

Now, for the introduction....

Leave the door ajar and let them find each other in their own time. Be there for this initial meeting. If you can, take a few days off to be around as much as possible, if not try to do this over a quiet weekend.

They will hiss and snarl at each other, don't interfere. They will probably growl and paw at one another, don't interfere. There may even be a bit of fur flying as well, only separate them if it gets violent.

You must never shout or punish either cat, this is normal behaviour in the feline world, they will just be working out cat rank and house position between them.

Keep the kitten bowls, beds and litter tray in their room as your older cat will be very upset if his or her pattern is disturbed. Territory is being divided between them at this time. It is also a safe place for your kitten to retreat to if it all becomes too much.

After a few days try to get them to play together. Nothing difficult a simple ball or string game. Chances are your older cat will watch, stretch, yawn and walk off, but at least it's some interaction between them.

As cute as this little ball of fur is don't forget your other cat needs equal attention, jealousy in a cat is a frightening thing! Don't think your older cat will forgive you.

They can take months even a year to get used to one another. Don't forget cats are naturally independent and are used to being the bosses in their home, so they will get there when they get there.

Of course you can't follow every tip in the world, there is always the chance that they won't get along simply because their personalities clash. There are plenty of tips out there, my personal one, which I have tried and tested, has worked for me. Most people will disagree and pretty much every pet site will say the complete opposite to me, but whenever I've had two neutered cats of the same sex it has worked.

About Author Alex Kelly :

Whatever shape, size or breed we have everything in our pet store to cater for even the most demanding, four legged diva in your household. We understand how important it is to not only have the latest cat toy, or the trendiest <a href="" target="_blank">dog collar</a>, but also to make sure the boring bits are covered. That's why we have a variety of flea, worming and fur treatments.

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Article Added on Thursday, February 23, 2012
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