How to Introduce Kittens to Other Cats in the Neighborhood
Cats can be rather territorial animals. As a result, introducing a kitten to a household with cats can result in a fair amount of tension. Fortunately, this problem isn’t insurmountable so long as cat owners are willing to put in the time and effort needed to make it work.
First, prepare a new space for the kitten. This means a place where the kitten can eat, play, sleep, and make use of the litter box as needed. Under ideal circumstances, the new space should make it easier for the kitten to get used to the cat owner as well. Some people might be tempted to put the kitten close to existing cats in the belief that this will help them get along better as soon as possible, but this is a serious mistake. Instead, giving the kitten its own space should help it get used to its new home while also helping existing cats get used to its presence in their home. On top of this, keeping the cats separate from one another for the first while should make it much easier to screen the kitten for potential health problems that can be passed on to the existing cats.
Second, it is important for the cats to get used to one another’s scent. Some sources have suggested that once the kitten has been cleared health-wise, the cat owner should use a soft cloth to wipe it around the kitten’s face under the chin from ear to ear, which should enable the cloth to pick up some of its scent because that is where some of its scent glands are located. Afterwards, the cat owner should offer the cloth to the existing cats before repeating the procedure but in reverse. Besides this, there is the option of removing the kitten from its space before putting the existing cats in it for about an hour or so and vice versa, which should help the cats make even more progress when it comes to getting along with one another.
Third, once the cats have become familiar with one another’s scents, it is time to work on the face-to-face meetings. Some people will suggest putting up a baby gate at the doorway separating the cats so that they can gradually get to know one another face-to-face on their own terms. Other people have recommended using carriers with the other cats’ scent to bring the cats into closer company while still having a barrier between them.
Whichever approach that cat owners choose, they should know that the process will take time, meaning that they need to remain patient. Eventually, there will come a time when the cats are ready for a face-to-face meeting with no barriers between them whatsoever, perhaps when the participants can remain perfectly calm even when they are in sight of one another. However, even if they seem calm, cat owners should still supervise the process so that they can intervene if necessary. If the cats don’t get along, it is time to go back to the face-to-face meetings with barriers until it is time to give it another shot. In contrast, if the cats do seem to get along, consider bringing them closer and closer a little bit at a time on a daily basis. This process can seem tedious and time-consuming, but in most cases, it should produce the best results because cats need time to get used to one another.
Ultimately, it is best to aim for the cats getting along with one another to the point that they will tolerate the other’s presence in the same household. There are plenty of cats that get along so well that it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that they are friends, but it is not something that can be guaranteed, meaning that cat owners might not want to get their hopes up unnecessarily before getting started. Regardless, if cat owners run into serious issues in the process of getting their cats to know one another, they shouldn’t hesitate to contact veterinarians, cat behaviorists, and other specialists for further assistance as a just-in-case precaution.