Introducing a new kitten to another cat in the household can be tricky. It’s not so much of a process if the current cat is friendly and good with new people. However my roommate’s cat Sylvanus is the typical scardey cat. She was originally a feral kitten that was rescued and then adopted out at only a few weeks old. Sylvanus is strongly bonded to her owner and still runs from my husband and I. I have been lucky on a few occasions and have been able to pet her for about a minute max at a time before she wants to swipe with a crazy look in her eyes. That being said, we knew this might be a more difficult of a task for us than for others.
There were 4 major phases of interactions which took over 2 weeks to safely and comfortably execute. During the first week that we brought our kitten home, we kept Romeow in our bedroom without any contact with Sylvanus. They could hear eachother meow but that was it. It is also possible that they might of seen each other from the bedroom window into the back of the house window. It is best for bonding to leave your new kitten in your bedroom to get familiarized with your scent and it is a small enough space for them to not feel overwhelmed. This also prevents them from hiding so much and avoiding getting to know their new family.
After the first week, we began phase one: Gate meetings. We put up a pet gate at the entrance of our bedroom and let the kitties see and smell one another. Sure the gate is short, but we could easily keep the kitten from escaping and Sylvanus is so shy that she had no interest in jumping over. You must make this a positive experience by feeding them treats and encouraging playtime. We used a simple string toy to keep Romeow engaged but Sylvanus wanted no part. She stared him down the whole time like a creepy cat haha!
Second phase was Crate Meetings. We would arrange a meeting in one cat’s safe place (their bedroom) with the other cat visiting in a crate. There would be lots and lots of hissing on both ends and after a few minutes they would both calm down. We wanted them to smell and see each other and learn to keep the peace. When they relaxed they were rewarded with treats and pets.
Third phase was free roaming in a small neutral territory space. We blocked off the hallway and placed a toy in the middle. Sylvanus instantly ran to the corner and would hiss if Romeow came too close. Luckily, Romeow backed up and gave her some space so no cat fights ensued. Unfortunately, Sylvanus is shy and always displays behavior that she feels threatened. I think that in time she will come to know our kitten as just another cat and nothing to be afraid of. Here is a video of this interaction.
The final phase of interactions is free roaming while supervised throughout the house. This has been great, but I do not think we will let them go about the house unsupervised until Romeow is at least 6 months old. Kittens are still learning and are fragile compared to a full grown adult cat.
I’m hoping that eventually they will become friends, but for now they are keeping their distance. Actually Romeow will usually charge toward Sylvanus, she will hiss and then he will quicky retreat. I am just happy that the claws have not come out.
So for most of you introducing cats to each other, you will probably be able to do this much faster. Cats are like people and have all kinds of personalities. You must be mindful of this and try to keep a peaceful and calm environment. Show them both lots of love and affection.
Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions on the topic. I’d love to get them snuggling.