You might think that cats have no problem with other kittens because they belong to same species. Right? Wrong! Cats can be quite territorial if they have been raised alone all their life. If you have cat who had the whole house (and your lap) to itself, it’s going to have a problem if you suddenly bring home another kitty. Socializing a cat with a kitten is usually a long process (depending on your kitty’s personality) and it requires a bit of patience. Before you start with the socializing process, try to understand your cat’s personality. Socializing can only happen if your cat trusts you enough. It will also help if your cat trusts a person other than you. You will know why when you read ahead.
Introduce New Smells
The two cats should NOT be introduced right away. This is the common mistake most cat owners make and it is really a disaster waiting to happen! The first thing that you should do is take a step back and introduce both your cats by their scent first. Remember, your cats should be completely isolated from one another. Keep the new kitty in a separate room while your older cat gets the rest of the house.
If your cat trusts you it will most probably trust the new scent you introduce to it. Best thing to do at this stage would be to play with your older cat and then go to your new kitty. Then, play with your kitty and go back to your older cat. Let the two smell each other on you. Soon your cats will start associating each others smell with someone they already trust- you.
Once they are comfortable with this new kitty odor you carry, pair their scent with their second love-food. Cats, like other animals are motivated with food! Rub a towel on your older cat and another one on your new kitten. Swap them and lay it beside their food bowl while they eat. This will help them pair the scent with something else that is comfortable and positive. They might feel hesitant at first but continue this daily till your cat and kitten is happily munching away around each other’s scent.
Once they are comfortable with each other’s scent, they are ready for the next step. What is it you ask? Feed both your cats from opposite sides of a door. They will not be able to see each other but will definitely feel the other’s presence. By now, your cat knows there is another cat on the other side of the door. They might react immediately by backing away. If your cats seem apprehensive, put their bowl further away from the door. Keep it at a distance that is comfortable for them. Continue this process during meal times and inch their bowls closer to the door until they can eat comfortably with only a door separating them.
This is the ultimate interaction we’ve all been waiting for! But wait, there is more to it! Just because your cats can eat with each other on the opposite side of the door does not mean that they are perfectly comfortable with the others presence.
Every time you take a step ahead you need to respect the fact that you are asking them to challenge themselves a little more. So, now, we are going to make them face each other with human supervision. Put your cats in the same room but make sure they are not busy inspecting each other. If your cat already trusts a family member s(he) can handle once cat while you handle the other.
Keep treats ready to keep them interested. If either of the cats start hissing at each other, it is good to back a step immediately and take the kitten back to the other room. Once your cats are completely comfortable with each other’s presence, it is finally time you let them say hi to each other. Make sure they are supervised at first in case if any aggressive behavior pops in. When they trust each other enough to start grooming one another you can pat yourself on the back and call this a successful mission!
If you want your cat and dog to become friends, check out our article, Can Dogs And Cats Get Along.