The arrival of a new kitten is a joy for their owners, but can be a bit of a tricky situation for cats who’ve lived with them for a while. ‘Veteran’ cats are often very territorial pets—they love stability and aren’t fond of change. However, after a certain amount of time has passed, the ‘veteran’ cat will end up warming to the newcomer, and they’ll become great playmates. There are a few tips for owners to implement in order to make this transition as easy as possible for all parties involved. In this article, we’ll give you three tricks to make sure your cats enjoy a smooth adjustment period.
- Start the adaptation process separately
When a cat enters a new home, they feel very disorientated. Exposing them to another cat, which will also have its guard up, is not going to help with the adaptation process. To help the new resident get used to its surroundings gradually, set up a little temporary home in a room or part of the house for the first day or so, and make sure your other cat doesn’t go into it.
It’s important to bear in mind that although the cats might be separated at the beginning, they’ll both be aware of the other cat’s existence because of their smell. For this reason, make sure to cuddle and care for both equally in order to prevent them from feeling jealous from the very beginning. Also, as the cats will get to know each other purely by smell, you can introduce their respective belongings to each other so that they can get familiarised with their new partner before meeting ‘in person’.
- Start the introductions
If you’ve let the cats get used to each other’s smell, the first meeting will be a lot easier. It’s also advisable to let the new cat explore the rest of the house at ease, while making sure that the other cat stays in another room.
Once this has been done, you can start organising the first meeting. When this happens, bear in mind that your older cat might seem sullen and hostile, and that the newcomer might feel embarrassed or scared. Let them make contact gradually, and if either of them decides to leave, let them do so without forcing them to interact with each other. Create a safe and supervised environment to make these first meetings calm, and watch how, little by little, your cats start getting used to each other.
- Litter boxes: give them one each
To avoid rivalry and territorial issues, make sure that each cat has their own litter box. In addition, if you want to help your new cat get used to using their facilities, you can give them a little present every time they use it correctly. It’s also important that each cat has their own water and food bowls, as well as separate areas in the house for their scratcher and bed. Cats get jealous about their space, so giving them some autonomy and independence is a great way to positively contribute to shared living.
By following these three simple steps, you will see that, after a reasonable adaptation time, your cats will not only get used to each other, but they will become great playmates and will eventually enjoy each other’s company and appreciate the love that their new companion brings.