How to Adapt a Newly Adopted Cat with The Resident Cat
Kittens are so wonderful that whoever has one ends up falling in love and wanting to adopt more kittens .
It may also be that you are looking for a feline companion for your kitty to play with.
Therefore, it is important to emphasize that it is not simple for a kitten to accept another member of the family, it is possible, but in the beginning, as it is a novelty, they will need your help.
But how to adapt a newly adopted cat with the resident cat?
Remember kittens are very sensitive to change and a new little friend is a radical change, in the future it will be wonderful for him, but at the beginning it is stressful. A good adaptation will help reduce stress and the kittens’ relationship will have a much better chance of being wonderful.
In this article, we are going to give you a step-by-step guide on how to get your cat used to a new feline indoors and with that you will avoid a lot of stress and future trauma for your kittens.
But before the step by step we are going to talk about a way that you should NEVER introduce!
What You Should NOT Do?
Never arrive with the new kitten and place the two face to face as if you were introducing two people. This presentation is very traumatic, the kittens will be very scared, generating a lot of stress.
The presentation of kittens needs to be done in a gradual way.
Now we are going to show you the correct way to adapt a newly adopted cat to the resident cat.
Step #1: Prepare Your Home
First of all it is important to prepare your home for the arrival of the new kitten.
You see, the new kitten will need a space (room).
In this room put everything he will need, food pot, water can, litter box, scratching post, bed and toys.
The room will make the kitty feel comfortable in the new home and serves as a kind of “safe haven”. That way, he can feel safe and take the time to adapt to the new environment.
Step #2: Leave the New Kitten in the Separate Room
As soon as you arrive with the new kitten, take him immediately to the separate room, he will stay there for the first few days. Do not let the kittens make eye contact . They need to know each other first by smell.
Leave the kitten in the new room, with everything he needs like water, food, litter box and a window, of course always with a safety net.
It is very important that the cat can have a distraction and feel comfortable in that room, because the adaptation is also stressful for the newcomer, so you need to make it as comfortable as possible.
After leaving everything tidy in the room for the new kitten , leave him alone for a few hours (about 2 hours) for him to calm down. Every now and then open the door a little to check if he’s okay.
The resident kitten will already smell the new kitten and will start to realize that there is a new member in the family. Make him feel free to sniff the door but don’t let him in or make eye contact just yet . If he gets a little stressed, you can offer him treats and play with him to calm the pet down.
After two hours enter the room and pay attention to the new resident. It’s important not to force anything if he’s still afraid, leave him alone in the corner he’s chosen. Just keep quiet in the room to keep him company so he gets used to his presence.
Offer him some very tasty food, let him eat calmly and just watch. Then you can try to play with it. You repeat these processes and little by little as you perceive opportunities given by him, you can pet him.
If the new kitten isn’t scared, great. Just enjoy and play with it a lot!
Step #3: Getting to Know First by Smell
For the first few days the new kitten should stay in the room. It is important whenever you go into the room to caress the resident kitten enough to keep his scent in your hands, this attitude also avoids jealousy of the resident cat. ( Don’t forget to give the resident kitten a lot of attention and affection , it’s important to do this so he doesn’t feel “changed”).
When you come in let the new kitten smell her brother . When you leave the room, it will be the resident kitten’s turn to sniff your hand to get to know the new sibling’s scent.
Feather (female) is a little shy but loves to be petted. She is looking for a family.
It’s also important to always put food out for them at the same time. They will eat together, but without opening the door!
But how can this be done?
It’s simple, a little pot on each side of the closed door. They’re going to eat some really good food and they’re going to smell each other under the door. This will make them associate each other with a pleasurable activity. This will reduce the awkwardness between the two.
Remember no eye contact yet!
Step #4: New Kitten Getting to Know the House
Once the new kitten is comfortable, it’s important for him to get to know the new home.
To do this, lock the resident kitten in another room , other than that of the new kitten.
After that open the door and let the new kitten explore and get to know the new house.
Let him explore for a maximum of two hours and then switch the kittens. The new kitten returns to its intended room and the resident kitten can be released into the house.
You can do this once a day, this is important too, as it allows both of you to smell each other around the house.
Step #5: Calmed Moods, Time for First Eye Contact
During all these steps it is essential that you observe the behavior of your kittens.
When you notice that they are more relaxed, you can move on to first eye contact. But this always depends on the cats and can vary between three days, a week, two weeks or even three weeks maximum. So watch carefully.
It is not yet time to open the door and let the new kitten out . This first time , open the door with just a small crack and let them observe each other for a few minutes. Remember to open the door with just a crack, no space for them to put their paws, just a space for eye contact.
Sabrina (female) is a cheerful kitten and is waiting for a family that wants to love her.
Then close the door and offer a nice meal to both of you.
Don’t be alarmed if they have negative reactions, just be very careful that they don’t get hurt.
Repeat this process a few times a day for a week or so.
Step #6: Meeting at the Shipping Box
Once they are more relaxed you can organize a crate “meeting”.
Place your new cat in the carrier and move it to a location outside the safe room (eg the living room).
It is important to open the door very slowly and bring the transport box to the living room very calmly, no sudden movements. Allow cats to look at each other and sniff through the carrier door.
If there is any sign of aggression, end the visit and take the cat back to its safe room.
This technique allows the kittens to get to know each other visually without the possibility of hurting each other. You will have to repeat this process several times. After the first time, you can always give snacks to both of you, as snacks helped a lot to associate this coexistence with a good experience.
Another option is to install a baby gate to create a secure barrier. In this way, cats may feel more inclined to approach.
You can feed them near the edge of this physical barrier and use food and toys to encourage them to associate good things with encounters. The game builds trust between the two and reduces stress.
Step #7: The First Physical Contact
The big moment has arrived! Keep Calm.
When you’re making eye contact through the crack in the door and you feel they’re quite relaxed, it’s time to open the door a little wider and let the new kitten out.
Monitor that first meeting between the two and never ignore a fight. Whenever you feel that they are going to get weird, calm the mood in a calm way if possible, with jokes and snacks. No water jets this will generate unnecessary stress.
Now is the time to monitor and let the two get to know each other well. During the day you can leave the two together and at night for safety if you are feeling any tension return the new kitten to its refuge.
If you think they look great, great, leave them together!
Tip: To avoid jealousy always greet the resident cat first . Resident cats also need love so they don’t feel “changed”. So don’t forget to pay attention to them too.
Step #8: Patience and Lots of Love
Even following all these steps, your kittens may take up to 90 days to fully accept each other as each kitten has its own particularities.
So keep calm use toys, snacks or room odor to calm the mood. (There are several brands on the market. Do some research or ask your vet).
You can be sure that now is a matter of time. Your kittens will need time to bond and you will need to be very patient and attentive with them.
The process of adapting a newly adopted cat to the resident cat can take a little work at first, but after the adaptation you will realize that you did the right thing in giving your kitty a new friend. He’ll be happier and they’ll have a lot of fun.
And you will be very happy to win another kitten!