Proper Kitten Introduction
Things you'll need first:
* The worst thing to do is plop your new kitten down in the middle of your home on day one with older pets! The kitten may get frightened and hide under your furniture. He/she could get diarrhea as a direct result from stress. Let him live in a small room for the first few days, gradually letting him learn the entire house after about a week.
Safe Room: Before bringing a new kitten into your home, you'll need to get things ready first. It's an exciting time, shopping for everything your new kitten will need. Your new kitten will need a small room or bathroom set up as it's "safe room". A laundry room is NOT a good room to use. Washers and dryers are too noisy. The idea is to have him feel safe and comfortable, not terrified. A bathroom makes a really good safe room, provided you always remember to keep the toilet lid closed, for obvious reasons. Safe rooms are extremely important. It provides a cozy spot as a source of comfort in a brand new world where he will learn the sounds and smells of his new home. An ideal temperature range for your kitten's health and comfort is approximately 72-74 degrees. Make sure there are no choking hazards in your home. Kittens can get choked on little pieces of plastic. You don't want that! This is also the room where he will get to know and love his new family...YOU. This is not the time or place to introduce other pets to your new kitten, however! More on this further down the page.
Food/Water: His/her safe room will be set up before hand with a food bowl filled with the exact food he/she is used to eating and a water bowl filled with water he's been drinking. If you didn't get any of the water he's been used to drinking, use filtered bottled water. Not all water is the same. Water straight from the tap will likely contain chlorine which will cause your kitten to have an upset tummy. You will also want to clean the water bowl each day to ensure your kitten stays in good health. Food particles will end up in the water bowl from your kitten, so remember to clean it and add fresh water daily. Any change in it's food or water need to be very gradual to avoid an upset tummy.
Litter Box: Use the same brand of litter he's been used to using. Show him where his new litter box is located in his safe room. You generally don't want the food/water bowls right beside the litter box. You'll want to clean the litter box twice per day by scooping out his deposits. Cats love clean litter boxes. It is possible for your kitten to experience diarrhea due to the stress of moving to a new environment. How many litter boxes will you need? It's good to have 2 boxes per cat. If your litter box comes with a hood, don't use the hood. Most cats prefer an open litter box.
Toys: Visit your kitten often, using these times as opportunities to bond with him/her. Pet him and play with him. Always use cat toys during play sessions, not your hands or feet. By letting him play with your hands or feet you're creating a bad habit that you'll come to regret when he gets bigger. Hands and feet are not toys. Roll a ball for him to chase. Bring in a feather tied to a string for him to play with. A popular kitten toy is a common drinking straw. They usually love to play with straws. Have a scratcher to keep full time in his room. They all need somewhere appropriate to scratch. That's where you'll put him if he wants to use your leg as a climbing post. If he seems more interested in your leg that his scratcher, then it's time to spray the scratcher with cat nip spray. He will go to it and rub and scratch on it. This is good training. It will need to repeated as often as necessary.
*When and How to Introduce your new kitten to your cat*
Okay, now it's time to talk about...introducing your new kitten to your other cat. Your new kitten will be living full time in it's safe room for about a week. Don't be tempted to lock your older cat in the bathroom in order to give the new kitten time to get used to the rest of the home. This can create resentment in the older cat's mind. Give your older cat lots of love and attention too. During this time (the first week) the new kitten and your other cat will not be together, but will be allowed to smell each other from under the door, as well as hear each other. Introductions need to be done slowly and in a relaxed manner. Cat's need to be able to learn each other's smells. That is very important to them. In addition to smells that drift underneath the door, you can let them learn each other's smells by rubbing a rag or towel all over your older cat. Place that towel in the safe room with the new kitten, and vice versa...rub the new kitten all over with a rag or towel to get his smell on it. Let the older cat have that towel to learn the kitten's smell. Another suggestion is to place both of their food bowls beside the door. The kitten can't see the older cat, nor can the cat see the new kitten, but they will smell each other from under the door each time they eat or receive treats. The older cat will associate good things happening with the new kitten smell. After a couple of days you can prop the kitten's safe room door open just slightly so they can see each other but not get through to each other. Then after a day or two you can bring them together for a few minutes with complete supervision. There is likely to be some growling, hissing, spitting sounds during the first few visits. Don't force them together. Your kitten can retreat back in to his safe room if he wants. Next time bring out a toy like a feather on the end of a pole, etc... See if you can get them to play together with the toy. That will create a friendship between the two of them. Don't yell at your cat if he's unfriendly towards the new kitten at first. Keep everything calm, playful, and try again a little later. Your new kitten will not be used to yelling or voices being raised. You can never completely know how two cats will react to each other. They may become instant buddies. They may just tolerate each other. They may become buddies eventually. The best thing to remember is to give them both love and attention. Always remember to keep trying to get them to play together with a cat toy.
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