Introducing a Kitten to Your Older Cat


Guest post by Jackie Roberts

Finding a companion for an older cat requires some forethought, and is frequently not quite as simple as finding an adorable kitten at the local shelter, bringing her home, and introducing her immediately to the older resident cat. Kittens may not be a good match for many senior cats, especially cats who are dealing with health issues. If, after careful thought, you decide to have a kitten join your older feline in residence, slow and steady introductions will ensure a smooth experience for everyone.

Beyond the unsure nature of socialization between cat and kitten, there are also potential health concerns with an immediate introduction. When taking a new kitten home, the first stop should be a veterinarian’s office to make sure he is feline leukemia and FIV negative, free of parasites, and otherwise in good health.

The following tips will help you introduce your new kitten to your older cat.

Age Matters

A kitten and an older cat aren’t necessarily going to play together even after they’ve been introduced. The two are at different life stages, and the older resident may not have the same energy levels as the younger, or the same personality. If you are looking for a playmate for your older cat, aim for an animal that is the same age or temperament of the current feline. If you still want a kitten, consider getting another kitten at the same time so the two younger animals can entertain each other.

Safe Room

The best way to introduce a new kitten is to create a “safe room” as a way to get her used to the smells and sounds of her new home without getting overwhelmed. The ideal safe room will have a separate litter box, food and water bowls, a bed, a scratching post, a few toys and possibly a place to hide, as well as a door that closes firmly. The kitten will have everything that she needs in one cozy, familiar space, and won’t have to face the vast openness of a single family home or apartment yet.

Scent Friendly

Creating this safe room allows the two cats to meet each other indirectly by sniffing each other through the closed door. Promote this indirect interaction slowly but steadily and monitor the effects for any negative reactions on either side.

With the new kitten still in the “safe room,” numerous methods can be used to get the two together in a positive atmosphere. Older animals can be quite territorial, and it is possible that the resident may take a few days to be within sniffing distance of this intruder, even for eating. Don’t force the situation if your older feline is reluctant to be introduced; let it progress naturally.

After a few days, you can try feeding the two cats on opposite sides of the safe room door so that they associate each other’s presence with a positive experience. You can also exchange scents by sharing combs or washcloths or even swapping spaces (while the other is not present) to get the animals used to each other.

First Impressions

Once the two are comfortable with each other’s scent, it’s time for a face-to-face meeting. The first face-to-face interaction is often cautious sniffing and posturing. Don’t give up at this point. Let the animals retreat to their own spaces and come back when they’re ready to.

Introducing a young kitten to an older cat does not always go as expected. Many older cats have never been around kittens before and often can be quite afraid of them. Don’t expect the “parenting gene” to kick in if your elder cat has not been around kittens.

If there is more going on  than just sniffing and posturing, carefully separate the two to their respective areas of the house. Try the process again later, and go slower if necessary.

Introducing a kitten to an older cat is not always easy, but it can be rewarding if you go slow, and allow the two cats to get used to each other.

Jackie Roberts is a writer for 1-800-PetMeds, and loves to help and support the pet community. You can find Pet Meds on Twitter or connect with Pet Meds on Facebook.

Photo ©Dan Powers, courtesy of Zee & Zoey’s Chronicle Connection

101 Comments on Introducing a Kitten to Your Older Cat

  1. Rebecca Leal
    June 11, 2019 at 9:37 pm (2 months ago)

    Hi Ingrid,

    I have a 6 year old cat, she is very loving and a little timid. I lost my other cat about 3 years ago and just got a new 3 month old cat 2 weeks ago. He was originally in our spare bedroom with his own things and she hissed at the door the first day then she sort of just looked at it and walked past it.
    I am afraid I rushed his introduction to the rest of the house as he was let out of his room after about a week and now he gets into our room. My old cat isn’t overly aggressive towards him, she just shies away and occasionally hiss at him if he gets to close. He is a very laid back kitten and will respect her space and backs off as soon as she hisses. However my old cat is more aggressive towards me, hissing, growling and swatting at me. She has also stopped coming into our bedroom (she has always slept on the bed cuddled up against me).
    Could it work to put the kitten back in his space and try and re-introduce them again or would this be to late? and if so what can I do to try and make it better from now onward?
    She still eating and sometimes she will even let him sit next to her while she is eating to then the next second hiss at him and run away.
    Any advise is appreciated.

    Thank you.


  2. Jennifer
    April 12, 2019 at 1:38 pm (4 months ago)

    Hello Ingrid,

    I have a 3 year old female tuxedo cat who is very high energy, playful, and very needy. She also gets very overly stimulated and will often attack me very violently, often without warning. Even sometimes if I am just petting her too much. She doesn’t do this to anyone else. I often think that she thinks that I am another cat and is trying to be dominant. It has gotten much better though in the last few months. Maybe once a week, where it was daily

    She also acts out if I do not give her attention. She will follow me and bat at my legs or get up by the TV and go behind it or paw at the screen. Or she will claw at the furniture. She know this gets a rise out of me

    She is very dependent on me. I work from home, but travel some for work. Although I have a very good cat sitter come every day, I am very worried about her the whole time. I was thinking that if I had another cat, not only would she be happy to have someone to play with, but she would also have a companion there while I’m gone.

    I am wondering if you have any insight as to what age cat might be most appropriate? Or if you even think that it would be wise to get another cat at all with her personality the way it is? I would have hate to get another cat, give it hope, and have to bring it back to the shelter

    I definitely want another female. I also don’t want a very young kitten. 6-8 mo would probably be the youngest. I just don’t know whether to go older or younger or if it even makes sense at all

    Thanks a lot!!

    • Ingrid
      April 12, 2019 at 2:21 pm (4 months ago)

      Hi Jennifer, this article should help: Given that your cat is so high energy, I think you’re on the right track thinking about getting a slightly older female kitten. There’s never a guarantee that two cats will get along. If you decide to move forward, just make sure you introduce the newcomer slowly and gradually.

        April 13, 2019 at 1:08 pm (4 months ago)

        Thank you so much!! That was really helpful

  3. Kamila
    September 3, 2018 at 10:19 am (12 months ago)

    Hi, so i have a 8 year old female cat named Mania. She is quite playful when she gets shaved, but is very calm and loving. I was planning on getting a 3 week old cat next week, but i’m scared how it will turn out with Mania. Please help me out!

  4. Nikol
    October 14, 2017 at 12:05 pm (2 years ago)

    I need some advice. I currently have a 6 year old female indoor cat. (I believe she is a British shorthair) She has a very good temperament… awesome with children and other people. She can be playful but also enjoys her independent time. She loves to cuddle! Now I am thinking of getting a 8 week old male kitten (a purebred Persian). I am unsure of how they would get along. Any advice would be helpful!

  5. Sarah
    September 24, 2017 at 10:46 pm (2 years ago)

    I’ve had my cat Simon since he was a small kitten and nursed him back to health and now he is about 6 years old. I recently adopted an 8 week old kitten(now he is 10 weeks) and I need advice on how their relationship is going.
    The first night we brought the kitten home he was tired and terrified so he cuddled with us constantly and would scream and cry if we left him alone so we ended up letting him into our room and tried shutting the door so Simon wouldn’t get in but Simon just cried and scratched our door constantly so my boyfriend just let him in. I know they were supposed to stay separated but the kitten didn’t leave our bed the entire night and Simon never bothered him. Since that night the kitten has been in our spare bedroom.
    Simon didn’t eat much for a few days and seemed skittish and wary of the door but now is acting fine.
    Now the kitten is fully adjusted to us and he is FULL of energy. He has to stay in the room all day while we are at work and when I get home I play with him as much as I can but he never tires out. Simon and him have had a few supervised meetings since bringing him home and aside from the one time they slept on the couch together and sniffed at each other, the meetings haven’t gone well due to the fact my kitten just jumps all over Simon and starts fights. I assume he’s playing, but I don’t think my other cat thinks so and I’m afraid that they’ll hurt each other. From how Simon acts around him now (no more hissing, doesn’t act scared just curious) I think they would get along well enough if only the kitten wasn’t constantly trying to play with him. I can’t seem to tire out the kitten enough for them to spend any time together without my kitten just going insane and I’m worried I’ll have to keep them separate for a very long time which is hard in my apartment. Any advice?
    Just some more info:
    The kitten will be neutered soon
    Simon acts normal around me when the kitten isn’t around, still affectionate.
    The kitten is having problems realizing I am not a toy or climbing tree and I’m covered in scratches
    I have scratching posts and a small tree that is in his room, plus toys everywhere.

    Thank you.

    • Ingrid
      September 25, 2017 at 5:22 am (2 years ago)

      Unfortunately, this is not an unusual situation when a kitten is introduced to an older cat. As you’re noticing, their energy levels are not a good match. You’re already doing everything right in terms of playing with the kitten and trying to tire him out by helping him burn off energy. Neutering may tone his energy levels down a bit, but I doubt it’s going to make a big difference. I know this is probably not what you want to hear, but you may want to consider getting your kitten a playmate of his own age and energy level. That way, the two can play with each other, leaving Simon alone and preventing you from being treated as a toy and scratching post. Of course you will then have the challenge of introducing the newcomer to your kitten AND Simon, which could be challenging, especially in an apartment. You may want to consider working with a feline behaviorist. If you can’t find anyone local to you, I can recommend Mikel Delgado and Daniel Quagliozzi Both offer remote consultations.

  6. Amy
    September 14, 2017 at 8:50 am (2 years ago)

    I was recommended the idea of a companion for my cat but after reading the comments I’m not too sure. I work long hours and so my 2 year old female cat is often alone. She is very affectionate and follows me everywhere I go when I’m home but also can be aggressive and very naughty. I wondered if a friend may settle her but now worry she may pass on her bad habits. Thought?

    • Darla
      September 14, 2017 at 8:08 pm (2 years ago)

      I adopted a 6 month old male that a neighbor abandoned.He has now been fixed. I have a 15 year old spayed female that has been our only pet for years. So far things have NOT gone well. After keeping the male isolated in a back bedroom, feeding on opposite sides of a closed door (she hisses and yowls), rubbing each other’s bedding on them, giving extra affection and grooming to them both, she still hates him. The kitten got out of the bedroom yesterday and walked into the hall. She attacked. If she had caught the kitten, I think she would have killed him. We are going into the 4th month of trying to get her used to him and it is exhausting.

  7. Darla
    July 18, 2017 at 2:47 pm (2 years ago)

    Gabby is a 15 year old female and has been our only pet. A stray male kitten had followed me around my yard for 2 weeks and wanted to come in. I let him into an unused back room and made the vet appointment. He has now been neutered, chipped and received his shots. Gabby hid in the kitchen for 5 days with her back to me and ate very little. This is a cat that has slept at the foot of my bed for the last 14 years. I have started carrying her to my bed each night and she seems happy with that. She returns to the kitchen each morning and sits in her favorite cardboard box. I have given her extra attention and more grooming which she loves. The two cats have not even seen each other yet, but it is coming up on 2 weeks and there is no progress yet. Last night I attempted to put her food on one side of the door to the back room while my son fed the kitten on the other side. Gabby ran back to the kitchen. The kitten who is 5 months old was oblivious. What should be my next step?

  8. MoMosMom
    July 17, 2017 at 1:19 pm (2 years ago)

    My cat MoMo is 7 years old & has been the only pet in my home since he was a kitten. (He was actually my daughters cat who came back to live with me when she got married). Long story short, I thought it would be nice for him to have some company for the hours when I’m away at work. A friend of mine’s cat had a litter & was looking for forever homes for the kittens – now 10 weeks old. I thought maybe since it was a kitten there would be no drama. Wrong! So I have the kitten(male) in the spare bedroom with food, water, toys, etc. MoMo slept outside the bedroom door last night. Occasionally hissing & clawing & growling at the door. It’s only been one night, but I’m wondering if I may have made a mistake thinking he would be ok with sharing his space. MoMo is my first cat so I’m not completely up to speed on all their ways & habits & their way of thinking. My friend told me if this didn’t work out, she would be happy to take the kitten back. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! PS, I also feel bad that the kitten is in the room by himself all night as well as all day(I leave the house at 6am & don’t get home until 5pm).

    • Ingrid
      July 18, 2017 at 5:49 am (2 years ago)

      That’s a tough situation and far from ideal. Chances are that this is going to work out following a slow and gradual introduction over a number of days or possibly weeks, but it is going to be hard on the kitten to be by himself for that much time every day. Is it possible for you to adjust your schedule for at least a week or two so you can spend more time with both cats as you go through this introduction?

      • MoMosMom
        July 18, 2017 at 10:29 am (2 years ago)

        I wish I could but not an option at this time. MoMo did better last night, no hissing, growling or clawing at the door. Just sniffing & acted more like himself this morning. I will keep you posted on our progress! Thanks for your help!

  9. Xena daniels
    July 12, 2017 at 5:02 am (2 years ago)

    Hi, I have read some of your posts for advise which I already have done but no improvements so far. I have a male neauted nearly 1 years old cat house cat only & a 7 week old female kitten. My male cat Oreo does not get on with the female kitten at all I have tried as much as I know ?

    • Ingrid
      July 12, 2017 at 5:05 am (2 years ago)

      If you’ve already followed all the steps for a slow and gradual introduction, including backing up a step when things aren’t working, and Oreo still isn’t accepting the new kitten, you may want to consider working with a feline behaviorist. If you can’t find anyone local to you, I can recommend Mikel Delgado and Daniel Quagliozzi Both offer remote consultations.

      • Xena daniels
        July 12, 2017 at 5:10 am (2 years ago)

        Thank you.

  10. Priscilla Ormsby
    June 30, 2017 at 1:20 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi! I have a six-yea-old female cat. Timid, but loving. I just lost her litter mate, a male. The two of them were inseparable. Molly has become even more loving, but seems to be handling the loss well. I would love to get a kitten, both to keep her company and to help my husband get over the loss. I am facing a hip replacement in the next month and probably need to wait until that is behind me. Is adding a kitten a good idea? I know I would have to introduce them very gradually. If I do get one would a male or female be a better idea? I’m leaning toward a male, but could go either way. Thanks for any advice.

    • Ingrid
      June 30, 2017 at 3:50 pm (2 years ago)

      A kitten might be a little too high energy for a six-year-old cat, but it depends on Molly’s temperament. I don’t think gender matters as much as personality does.

  11. Ric
    June 28, 2017 at 2:40 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi, my 1,5 years old female named Lady just gave birth to 5 healthy fat fuzzballs, so i was wondering how to introduce them to my older male cat (7 months old) named Lunar.

    2 days before Lady goes into labor, i have separate her from Lunar and kept her in a solitary room upstair. 7 days after giving birth, i was refilling her food and drinks and cleaning her litter box and Lunar got curious so hes following me to Lady’s room but suddenly he started posturing and hissing either to Lady or her 7 days old babies then i hurried to grab Lunar out of the room.

    So, how do i safely introduce Lunar to the kittens and should i wait until the kittens are older if i should, then how long?

    Thank you very much, im sorry if my english is not very good.

    • Ingrid
      June 29, 2017 at 5:30 am (2 years ago)

      I suspect Lunar is reacting to the changes in Lady’s body chemistry. She may smell different to him now, and he doesn’t recognize her. You may need to treat this like a new cat introduction and slowly and gradually introduce them to each other as if they had never met.

  12. Tina
    June 9, 2017 at 11:11 am (2 years ago)

    We have an almost five year old female indoor-only cat and are thinking of adopting a seven week old female kitten. The kitten was feral and has been taken care of for the last several weeks by a family friend. She seems sweet and playful. Our current cat is sweet and good-natured. She’s playful and loves to be cuddled but is also independent. We adopted our current cat when she was 2 1/2 and I was told that she was a stray and was found with a kitten but she had not had kittens of her own – if that makes sense. I’m not sure how she would do with another cat in the house but I’m thinking that by following these guidelines we could make it work.
    My biggest concern is that we are going out of town for a week. If we adopt the kitten it will be likely be today or tomorrow so I’ll be home with the cats for two weeks and then gone for one week. We have a cat-sitter who will come every day to check on them or I could have my friend take the kitten home with her for the week we are gone. I would hate to ruin any progress we’ve made though – or confuse either of them – by removing the kitten from the house for the week we are gone. What do you suggest in this situation?
    Thank you!

    • Ingrid
      June 9, 2017 at 4:01 pm (2 years ago)

      I would wait until you return from your trip to adopt the kitten – I think the other options would be too confusing, and you’d have to start over again with introductions.

  13. Tammy
    June 3, 2017 at 12:15 pm (2 years ago)

    I knew I’d find a post regarding this on your site!

    Hi, Ingrid! I’m a longtime reader (sorta?) for about 4 years now and have loved a ton of your different articles. I recently have been scouring through your blog for things relating to kittens because I had rescued a 4 week old male kitten a week and a half ago (so he’s 5 1/5 weeks now). He was feral and his littermates were all eaten one by one. This little guy was the only one we could catch in the end.

    He has a really great disposition and, surprisingly, actively seeks human contact and affection. My exceptionally affectionate resident cat, Skittles, is 4 years old on the 27th of this month and has displayed little to no aggression. I brought the kitten home in a carrier, she investigated, then rubbed herself all over the carrier and – after cleaning hands – came and cuddled on me. Our dog, as always, was indifferent as she prefers cats to dogs. She probably silently thanked me for not rescuing a 4 week old puppy. LOL.

    The baby is kept in a room totally separate, though I do have a doggy gate on the doorway and will leave the door open when I’m home so Skittles can see and smell the kitten and watch me interact. She has never hissed when smelling the kitten on me and will always rub and lick and cuddle. Skittles seems genuinely intrigued and will purr while watching the baby.

    I let her into the room the kitten is staying in recently while he was in his closed in his crate/nest and the kitten was mewing and desperately trying to get me to let him out so he could see Skittles, though Skittles sniffed him through the crate and gave a disheartened mild hiss then laid next to the cage. She later left of her own accord with a slightly annoyed meow when the baby kept trying to paw at her tail, so I closed the doggy gate again and she went back to watching the kitten from outside.

    Sorry for the essay, though I guess I’m unsure how to take this? He escaped the room one day by accident during playtime and she chased him (small, fast moving object, lol) into our bedroom. Obviously, the baby was scared to be chased by our 15 lb cat and postured (no hissing or spitting), but Skittles just watched him intently until I nudged her, to which she laid on her side and meowed at me. He is immediately back to begging to see Skittles, though. I suppose I’m doing everything I can “correctly”? But I’m afraid I’m missing out on his important time for socialization and I’m unsure if Skittles will hurt the baby? I guess I’m coming to you because I have always loved your blog and enjoyed the advice you’ve dispensed and I would like validation I’m doing the right thing as nobody I know really knows about cats.

    • Ingrid
      June 3, 2017 at 3:30 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Tammy,

      thank you for your kind words about my blog. Based on your description, you’re doing everything right, and it also sounds like they may be ready to be out together under supervision. A little hissing is normal, as is chasing. Watch for signs of aggression like ears back against the head, growling, etc. If you notice anything like that, immediately separate the cats again, and wait a while before letting them out together. Let me know how things go!

      • Tammy
        July 17, 2017 at 6:18 pm (2 years ago)

        Hi again, Ingrid!

        I’m getting back in touch to give you an update a whole month later. 🙂

        Skittles and Mochi are as close as you can be to best buds. While Mo is significantly higher energy than Skittles, she plays the role of the patient nanny cat very well.

        Their first encounters were a little more strained since she was very upset with this tiny kitten who was absolutely ENAMORED with her and couldn’t stop jumping all over her. We continued the brief visits for them and extending them over the course of two weeks until, finally, Mochi was okay to let free roam the house (and now his energy levels are balancing out now that he has more room to roam! YIPPEE).

        Now they romp around the house and Skittles has adopted a few bad behaviors (jumping on tables never used to be her thing!) and they play together all the time (even though Skittles usually complains while they play and will eventually come and meow at me to let her into my lap so she can escape the kitten for a few minutes).

        I appreciate your reply from before as it really helped confirm that I was doing all that I could, but it was just a matter of letting them form their own opinion and relationship with each other at that point. Thank you!

        Hope all is well for you and, again, I love your blog!


        • Ingrid
          July 18, 2017 at 5:41 am (2 years ago)

          Thank you for this update, Tammy – I’m so happy to hear things worked out. This is a testament to the importance of slow and gradual introductions.

  14. Rachel
    May 17, 2017 at 11:29 pm (2 years ago)

    My beloved 4 year old male cat was an outdoor cat and was hit by a car a few weeks ago. Thankfully he survived but had to have his hind leg amputated. I am so proud of how well he is doing and he seems almost as if nothing has happened. The only problem is I think he is getting very bored because I now want him to be an indoor cat. I let him outside with me on our fenced in patio, but most of the time he is inside. He’s a very silly, fun guy with such a personality! I work from home so can spend a lot of time with him but I still feel like someone like him needs more stimulation. My friend has kittens that need homes and I have said I would like to bring home a female (8 weeks) this weekend, so my cat can have a companion. Is this a good or a bad idea? I understand that it can be a slow process to introduce them, but should I even bother at all? I was so excited for my guy to have a pal, but now I don’t know what to do!

    • Ingrid
      May 18, 2017 at 5:17 am (2 years ago)

      There’s never a guarantee that two cats will get along, Rachel. If you decide to bring a kitten home, make sure you introduce the newcomer slowly and gradually.

      • Rachel
        May 18, 2017 at 10:27 am (2 years ago)

        I will definitely do that, I’m just wondering if you think it can make a cat happier to have a companion, or in general solo or with a friend cats sense of “happiness” stays the same. I just want my little fur babe to have the best life with 3 legs 🙁

      • Alana
        November 10, 2017 at 9:33 pm (2 years ago)

        Hi Rachel, did you end up getting the kitten? I would love to hear how it all worked out

  15. Catherine
    April 24, 2017 at 5:51 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Ingrid,

    I am introducing a new kitten the way you have recommended. The only problem is that although the process seems to be progressing well, ever since I brought the cat in to the house the older cat charges and attacks me. She is ok with my partner but just attacks me on site. I am not sure what to do?

    • Ingrid
      April 25, 2017 at 5:14 am (2 years ago)

      Unfortunately, it sounds like your older cat associates you with bringing the newcomer into what she perceives as her territory. This is known as redirected aggression, although this is a somewhat unusual manifestation of it. I would recommend working with a feline behaviorist and/or your vet.

  16. Kuri
    March 20, 2017 at 9:22 am (2 years ago)

    Hi all, I currently have a 5 year old male neutered cat who has always been weird. He’s pretty social with people as in he doesn’t hide with visitors (he actually likes hanging around people) although he doesn’t like to be pet or picked (he tolerates maybe a few seconds but after that he gets angry). He has always been weird with my mom though, like aggressive and tries to attack her, when I’m around he doesn’t do that. A friend of mine had kittens and since we’re pretty much a cat family decided to adopt him. We’ve had said kitten (8 weeks old male) for 3 days but my mom keeps saying we can’t have the kitten isolated for a few weeks because it’s -and I quote- “unnatural”. How likely is it that if I let them meet the older cat is going to attack the kitten? I’m worried because I don’t want a bloodbath and there’s no way a kitten is gonna be able to defend against a huge cat like mine (he is very big). Please help what should I do?

    • Ingrid
      March 20, 2017 at 1:06 pm (2 years ago)

      You have to keep the kitten isolated and introduce him slowly. It is extremely likely that your older cat will attack the kitten if the kitten is not introduced slowly and gradually. If anything, it’s “unnatural” to expect cats who have never met to get along without a slow introduction. They’re territorial animals.

  17. Mariana
    March 20, 2017 at 12:02 am (2 years ago)

    I currently have a 9 month old male kitten, we were given a 2 year old female cat in a pet carrier upon her arrival she started growling and hissing my male kitten started to become more vocal than he usually is, he wasn’t growling or hissing. When he was in the room so we could do a proper introduction the female cat started hissing at us. I don’t know if she’s scared of the place over all and she’s being defensive or if she’s just not a good fit for us. We’re dabating whether to keep trying to make it work or just give up and give her back. Someone please help!

  18. Alexis
    February 19, 2017 at 7:33 pm (3 years ago)

    I have a two and a half year old cat, Cosmos, who is a dominant tuxedo cat. Almost a year ago, her twin sister, Pepper, passed away from cancer. Even though Cosmos was dominant (though she is extremely small for her age, and was smaller than Pepper,), she has now gotten very clingy, friendly, and peaceful, whereas when Pepper was alive, she was more independent, active, and less cuddle-loving. I don’t want her to be jealous, but I was thinking about getting a kitten for companionship. I know that a kitten would not be the ideal choice for an almost three year old cat, but everyone in my family wants a kitten, and since we also have a dog, a kitten would learn to tolerate it (the dog) better. What kitten should I get, and how should I treat this situation?

    • Ingrid
      February 20, 2017 at 6:17 am (3 years ago)

      If Cosmos was the dominant cat in her relationship with Pepper, she may want to be dominant again with another cat, although that’s impossible to predict. If you decide to get a kitten, make sure you introduce the newcomer very slowly and gradually.

      • Alexis
        February 20, 2017 at 1:22 pm (3 years ago)

        Okay, thanks!

        • Amy
          July 14, 2017 at 11:16 am (2 years ago)

          Hi Alexis. I am thinking about getting a kitten to add to my now 1 cat home. I have been reading a number of questions and when I got to yours I couldnt believe the similarity in our concerns. My Coco is a 5 year old Tuxedo. I have found Tuxedos have very interesting dispositions We recently had to put our other cat down as he was quite ill.Coco was the dominant cat in the household. Since putting the other cat down, Coco has been very present, loving, and following me around like a shadow. We are wanting to bring a rescue kitten into our home now.
          Did you ever get the kitten? If so, how did it go at introduction time? How is it going now?
          Thanks for your time 🙂

  19. Joan Burke
    February 8, 2017 at 5:16 pm (3 years ago)

    We have a 10-year-old Norwegian Forest Cat (we think is; he was a stray) that came to our home when he was about one year old. His name is Jack, he is friendly, on his own terms. He is inside/outside. I just got a new male short hari(thought it was a female when I got it) kitten that is very playful, loveable and energetic, about 4 months old, his name is Cookie. He wants to play with Jack and tries to eat his food. Jack is very unhappy with this new situation, and would just go outside all the time if I didn’t put Cookie in his room (he has his own food, water, toys, litter box, etc., in there). I have to do that so Jack can eat and find some peace. Some days Jack will go downstairs to sleep; I then shut the stairway door and the kitten can have the whole upstairs to play. Currently I keep the kitten indoors. They have sniffed noses, then just growled and mewed at each other. The kitten thinks it’s a great game to chase him. Jack just doesn’t want to engage and he is pretty stressed out. He has batted at the kitten but hasn’t really reacted much at all; which surprised me because Jack has been aggressive around other cats in the past. All attempts to make them get along have failed. I will keep them both no matter what, but this situation is hard for me and my husband. I feel like I made a mistake by getting this kitten; but, as I said, this is his home now. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I love both these kitties very much.

    • Ingrid
      February 9, 2017 at 6:20 am (3 years ago)

      Your best bet is probably to start over and do very slow and gradual introductions. The fact that Jack doesn’t react with aggression is a good sign – it sounds more like the kitten’s energy is stressing him out. Go through the intro process step by step, and back up a step if things don’t go well. Additionally, make sure you play with the kitten to the point of exhaustion to help him burn off energy. It may take months for Jack to accept Cookie. Alternately, you may want to consider getting Cookie a playmate his own age and energy level, although there’s no telling whether that will add to Jack’s stress or decrease it.

      • Joan Burke
        February 21, 2017 at 1:08 am (3 years ago)

        Thank you so much, Ingrid. I have been taking things very slowly, and it seems to have paid off! Though they are still tumbling around some, Jack is being gentle and Cookie ls less aggressive, and for the first time they are able to be together in the same room without fighting. I am guardedly optimistic that a kitty friendship might be forged. I have been giving Jack lots of attention, and make sure Cookie is in her room when he wants to eat or gets too tired and needs to rest. I am thrilled with the results. I took them both outside today and they behaved so well with each other. Your advice was exactly right! Thanks again.

        • Joan Burke
          February 21, 2017 at 1:39 am (3 years ago)

          Correction – *his room – still having trouble with that since I first thought Cookie was a female! And I also meant to say the toys for Cookie really helped, too. He carries them around in his mouth, plays with them a long time and hides them in various places. Very sweet baby kitten. But of course, Jack will always be my first lovey. Now I have him as well as a kitty to snuggle with; Cookie cuddles right up next to me, or in my lap, and conks out! Heaven!

          • Ingrid
            February 21, 2017 at 6:17 am (2 years ago)

            I’m so glad things are going well, Joan!

          • Joan Burke
            February 21, 2017 at 4:35 pm (2 years ago)

            Me too! It’s been so helpful to have a solid strategy from you. A calmer cat climate for us all! Yay!

    • Katie
      May 26, 2017 at 5:37 am (2 years ago)

      Hi,I have a five year old female cat who is very nervous around people but opens up to everyone eventually and I just got about a 4 to 5 week old kitten who’s a male and my 5yo is now running from me and doesn’t lay with me like she used too I am wondering if things will ever lighten up with her being shy??

      • Ingrid
        May 27, 2017 at 5:17 am (2 years ago)

        If your older cat is running from you since you’ve adopted the kitten, I suspect she’s not happy about having to share you with the newcomer. Make sure you spend some alone time with her to reassure her.

  20. Bec
    January 23, 2017 at 5:01 am (3 years ago)

    My family has an older female cat who is almost 13 years old and has been in two cat fights before, she’s an outside/inside cat and other cats have come into our yard. I want to get a new kitten and I’m wondering how she will go, or whether it will be too much for her. She’s never liked attention and much prefers to be left alone and has never been the type to play with us or sit on anyone’s lap, so my initial thoughts are she may just continue to chill out alone, but I’m not sure. I don’t want her to feel like we don’t want her anymore and I’m worried that a new cat, even though he (the new kitten) is still a baby. Any suggestions would be really appreciated?

    • Ingrid
      January 23, 2017 at 6:16 am (3 years ago)

      Based on your description of your cat’s personality, I’m not sure that she’d easily take to another cat in your household. Since she’s an indoor/outdoor cat, I’d be concerned that she would just decide to not come back into the house if you bring in another cat. If you decide to move forward, make sure you introduce the newcomer slowly and gradually.

  21. emma
    December 22, 2016 at 4:58 am (3 years ago)

    Hi, I used to have two siamese cats who were friendly but not always. One of the siamese died about a month back and ever since, the other siamese has been very lonely and clingy. My family and I bought two siamese kittens as my other siamese is very playful and we thought it would be a good idea to get them. It’s day two and the older siamese keeps coming into the room where the kittens are and going to them and then hissing at them, will it get any better?

  22. Lindsay
    November 28, 2016 at 11:26 pm (3 years ago)

    Thank you for posting!

    I’ve got a bit of a twist, however. I have 2 two-year old cats and I’m trying to integrate a kitten (4 months) and it’s not going well (lots of hissing). The kitten is blind (actually she has no eyes at all) and I don’t think she can pick up on the body language the others are displaying. The kitten will charge right at the other two, freaking them out, because she just doesn’t know they’re there. I backed up a step and am isolating the kitten, but they don’t hiss through the door, and the older cats even seem curious and interested. They stick their paws under the door, however the blind kitten obviously doesn’t see this. I’m also worried about leaving the differently-abled kitten by herself too much. I’m worried she’ll get depressed because at least at the shelter she had a “cage-mate”.

    Any ideas how I can work with this disability? The older cats just seem freaked out by it.

  23. Kim
    August 21, 2016 at 9:44 pm (3 years ago)

    Mosie my 10 yr old cat was living with my parents’ 18 yr old cat until that cat passed away recently I was wondering should I get a cat close to Mosie’s age or get one a bit younger ? I know that Mosie and Tiger weren’t exactly buddies but they did tolerate each other. Mosie is active and playful for her age.

    • Ingrid
      August 22, 2016 at 5:37 am (3 years ago)

      I think it’s more important to match the new cat in terms of personality rather than age.

  24. Lyla and Ava
    June 25, 2016 at 7:49 am (3 years ago)

    Please help. I recently as in today brought home a 7 week kitten that was abandoned. I have a just turned 1 year old female calico. She usually greets us at the door when we come home. She saw the new female kitten and immediately hissed and growled. We didn’t know what to do so we separated the two putting the kitten in the bedroom with food, water, litter box, etc. we are trying to figure out how long before we start introducing them again because our 1 year old is used to sleeping and being albe to roam the entire house but we had to close off the other bedroom where the kitten is. The kitten cries so bad that one of us has to sleep in there with her. Please help

  25. Michelle
    May 17, 2016 at 8:36 pm (3 years ago)

    Good evening! I just brought home a 4 week old female kitten. I have a 4 year old female Tabby cat that I love with all my heart. I have the kitten in my bathroom in my room and my Tabby in the living room. But today she is hissing a lot, growling and spitting at me and even trying to attack me! What should I do? I don’t like seeing her so on happy.

    • Ingrid
      May 18, 2016 at 5:55 am (3 years ago)

      That’s a pretty extreme reaction, but not unusual. Your Tabby is clearly very unhappy with smelling the new kitten. Try using Feliway plugins and Spirit Essences Stress Stopper or Rescue Remedy to help your Tabby calm down. Don’t even try to attempt introductions until she has calmed down.

  26. me
    May 5, 2016 at 12:34 pm (3 years ago)

    Is it alright if I have an older cat with health issues and get a kitten but never introduce them?

  27. Alyssa
    April 17, 2016 at 11:52 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi there, we just bought a 16 week old kitten and we have a 3 yr old cat whos been living here since a kitten he is quite territorial wanting his space im a bit worried about them not getting along the kitten is dtaying in a different room at the moment and the two have been sniffing at each other under the door but my older cat is getting quite anxious and hissing and meowing at me when i pick him up now is this because of the new kitten and will they get along?

    • Ingrid
      April 18, 2016 at 5:40 am (3 years ago)

      Your older cat is most likely very stressed because of the kitten. I would go very very slowly with introductions. If you’re open to holistic remedies, you may want to consider using Stress Stopper for your older cat:

  28. Lainee
    February 5, 2016 at 10:30 am (4 years ago)

    We just adopted a 3 month old male kitten (our other amazing cat died a few years ago) this little guy is sweet, affectionate and playful, all things kitten. Question is: a friend just rescued her neighbors cat (he moved, left the cat) and she can’t keep her. She’s about a year old and very friendly and sweet. What are your thoughts introducing an older cat to a new resident kitten? Anyone ever try that? I just feel awful for this l cute little kitty left behind.

    • Ingrid
      February 5, 2016 at 10:37 am (4 years ago)

      It sounds like the two cats are a good match personality wise, and at one year old, the abandoned cat is barely an adult herself. Lainee. I would do slow and gradual introductions.

      • Lainee
        February 5, 2016 at 2:10 pm (4 years ago)

        That’s what I was thinking…m just worried if it doesn’t go well I won’t know what to do with the older one. Thanks!

  29. Andrew
    January 6, 2016 at 4:00 pm (4 years ago)

    Someone at work adopted a stray which had kittens. She is trying desperately to get them homes. I have a 14 yo cat who is very friendly but I worry about bringing in a new cat. Especially one that is younger. My cat was raised in a shelter so has always been around other cats but my last adopted cat was not friendly to him. So I am a bit worried. Any advice?

    • Ingrid
      January 6, 2016 at 4:07 pm (4 years ago)

      Kittens aren’t usually a good match for senior cats, but if you decide to give it a try, follow the steps outlined in the article.

  30. Tailor
    November 30, 2015 at 12:36 am (4 years ago)

    I have a cat that is 7-month-old born April 17th, and I just got a new kitten about 8 weeks old. And my Grandmother put them together right away and didn’t introduce them slowly so I need help what should I do?

    • Ingrid
      November 30, 2015 at 7:12 am (4 years ago)

      If they’re getting along without any fighting, then you got lucky and you can just leave them out together. If they don’t, separate them and start over with slow and gradual introductions.

  31. Dominick
    September 7, 2015 at 9:54 pm (4 years ago)

    Hello, I have a cat that’s all most 3 years old he meows alot I’m thanking it’s because he’s lonely. I work some crazy hours sometimes I’m gone for 16 hours out of the day sometime won’t return for a day or two. I need help! Do you think another cat / kitten would be good for him?

  32. Lisa
    September 13, 2014 at 9:18 am (5 years ago)

    I have q 12 year old who likes to play and is very active. I brought home a male kitten 2 months ago. I introduced them slowly and she is still growling a hissing at him. She lived very happily with another male for 10 years before he passed away. The kiten wants to be close to her but she wants no part of him. Right now they are separated because if I leave them together all hell breaks loose. He’s going to be neutered next month. Do you think that will help?????? Help !!!!!

    • Ingrid
      September 13, 2014 at 5:05 pm (5 years ago)

      Neutering may help, but generally, your best bet is to slow down introductions or to start over and go even slower than you have been.

  33. Carmen
    August 1, 2014 at 1:47 pm (5 years ago)

    I have a two year old boy, he is my baby and he is territorial. However, i noticed that he is bored and that he needs company. I saw in the shelter a beautiful female kitten but I’m not sure because she is shy (most because she was just rescue). Do you think this would be a good combination? My cat hides when he doesn’t know the people inside my house and I don’t have children. But at the same time he plays with his toys so he is playful when he is not watching birds. What do you think? or should I get a playful kitten? please help

    • Ingrid
      August 1, 2014 at 1:55 pm (5 years ago)

      Unfortunately, there is no way to know for sure whether two cats will get along, Carmen. It may be easier to introduce a kitten to your boy, but you really won’t know for sure until you try it. Your best bet to ensure peace and harmony is doing slow, gradual introductions:

      • Carmen
        August 1, 2014 at 2:02 pm (5 years ago)

        I took care of a 9 week boy crazy kitten! for 3 weeks. my cat was licking him an playing kick bunnies with him after a short introduction. However, sometimes he was like he need a rest but the kitten keep playing and my cat looks like he was the one who didn’t sleep lol. I had to give back this kitten (i can’t have him back 🙁 , he is not mine) and my cat started to cry that’s why I don’t know if he will be ok with a kitten less playful, the other one was crazyyyyy but adorable at the same time or should I get another one playful?

  34. Lisa
    November 10, 2013 at 5:19 pm (6 years ago)

    Made several mistakes along the way.
    Our 13 yr old female, Rella cries and constantly tries to get into the bathroom where she last saw our male cat, he died 3 yrs ago, and they were together since she had been a kitten.

    A yr ago we felt ready to get another cat and ended up with 2, a female and a male, we quickly returned the male as he sprayed all over our house and bullied both females. Our older girl and the new one, Lila seemed to get along fine, but then Lila started attacking the older girl, Rella. This went on for several months and Lila was rather nasty to the human members of the family as well, biting, clawing, etc… We ended up rehoming Lila.
    We thought Rella would be thrilled, but instead she begun crying and trying to get into the bathroom again. Recently she also started pulling out tuffs of her fur. She has been to the vets and is in good health for her age. There have been no changes in the household other than Lila leaving.

    We are hesitate to get another cat. We visited the local SPCA and found a very calm, smaller female 1-2 yrs old, but my children want a little 4 month old male kitten. Male or female? What age? Really don’t know what would be best. Plus I’m afraid a kitten would be too much for my older girl and had heard you should get kittens as a pair.

    Help please!

    • Ingrid
      November 11, 2013 at 7:35 am (6 years ago)

      Unfortunately, there’s no way to predict whether two cats will get along, Lisa. Gradual and slow introductions will make it more likely that cats will get along, here’s how:

      Generally, a kitten is not the best match for a senior cat. Rella might do better with a laid back, older cat. Since she’s exhibiting symptoms of being stressed by something, it’s hard to know whether a new cat would make things worse or better.

      I wish I had a better answer for you. I would probably start with trying to figure out what is causing Rella’s stress and eliminating that before making any further changes to your household.

  35. camo and ammo
    September 1, 2013 at 9:29 am (6 years ago)

    This really is helping me thank you for the advise! I too rushed the first meeting before I read this and now have a safe room for my new kitten. It had been two days and now my older cat is hanging out by the door of the safe room…he is obsessed,is this a good sign? He went after the kitty’s throat a few times and now I am scared he will hurt the new baby…

    • camo and ammo
      September 1, 2013 at 9:33 am (6 years ago)

      (my son named them, he is six and loves all things army, but he loves his new kitten more than anything in the world!! I really hope this works!!)

      • camo and ammo
        September 1, 2013 at 9:08 pm (6 years ago)

        Just one more question is the base camp allowed to be a bedroom? The older cat is used to sleeping with one of us…but now he can’t because of the “safe room”…is that ok? The only other option would be the bathroom, that just seems too small. I really want this to work, thank you so much for the help!!!

        • camo and ammo
          September 1, 2013 at 9:11 pm (6 years ago)

          And thank you again, that last link was awesome!

        • Ingrid
          September 2, 2013 at 6:23 am (6 years ago)

          A bedroom is usually a good choice for a safe room, but since your older cat is used to sleeping in the bedroom with you, that’s not the best option for you. A bathroom is not ideal, but if that’s your only other option, I’d try to make that work. Just make sure the new kitten has lots of toys, a scratching post and/or cat tree, and that he gets lots of interaction with you and your family while he’s in the safe room.

  36. Patches
    August 30, 2013 at 3:01 pm (6 years ago)

    This is a really good post, however I think I screwed up with my introduction. I have a 3 year old and I just brought in a new kitten two days ago. They have already had some interaction and the older cat is just hissing a growling a lot when the little one meows and such. I keep them separated during the day, but have brought out the little one a few times over the past couple of days. My biggest fear is that I have already set a bad precedence and negative emotion in the older cat that he will not let go of. Have I messed up bad or can I basically “start over” and go back to square one?

    • Ingrid
      August 30, 2013 at 4:03 pm (6 years ago)

      I would start over and go back to square one, Patches, and go very very slow. If there are issue, back up a step and go even slower.

  37. Smudge
    May 16, 2013 at 7:23 am (6 years ago)

    I have a year old cat and im expecting a 10 week old kitten…Im not sure if 1 year if 1 year is too old for the kitten.I need to know so that I can kind of work things out a little better.

  38. Smudge
    May 16, 2013 at 7:21 am (6 years ago)

    I have a year old cat, and expecting a 10 week old kitten…I dont know if 1 year is a little to o old for the new kitten.

  39. dobson
    July 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm (7 years ago)

    Great post! Makes a lot of sense when it comes to the age difference. We have a lot of visiting cats, and sometimes the get along with the kitten and sometimes they make it clear that they will NOT be playing today. Of course, outdoor visiting cats is a different scenario than cats that have to live with each other. They’re so much like people with they’re different personalities and motives 🙂

    • Ingrid
      July 16, 2012 at 6:19 am (7 years ago)

      Personality definitely plays into it, too, Dobson.

  40. Bernadette
    July 11, 2012 at 2:11 pm (7 years ago)

    I always take it slowly with kittens, partly because I’ve had more than five cats, sometimes well more, for decades, and one more cat of any age is a disturbance. And then with kitten energy, we all need a break! It’s usually worked out pretty well, though.

    • Ingrid
      July 11, 2012 at 7:32 pm (7 years ago)

      Kitten energy can be a bit overwhelming, Bernadette – in the best possible way.

  41. Lianimal
    July 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm (7 years ago)

    GREAT post. Thank goodness my little foundling worked out perfectly, but only because my Senior just wanted to be left alone, and my almost adult was harrassing her. The kitten solved my problem…she gave the almost kitten someone to play with, which caused my senior to be left alone. Lucky me!

    • Ingrid
      July 10, 2012 at 8:10 pm (7 years ago)

      Thanks, Lynn. Things really worked out perfectly in your family!

  42. Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey
    July 10, 2012 at 8:13 am (7 years ago)

    Excellent post with great tips. I have had to introduce kittens to cats at various times in my life and it always takes time and patience. Bringing a kitten to a vet for a check up is critical too – one of my kittens that I adopted ended up having a serious eye infection that was highly contagious – he had to be in quarantine for several weeks before he could meet the other cats in the house.

    Age is also so important to consider. The above picture is of my beloved Maine Coon, Zee, and my Bengal, Zoey (their official first meeting). I had wanted Zoey for the longest time, but we had an elder cat that was failing in health. I waited until she passed over the Bridge to get Zoey, as it would have been very unfair to her peace of mind to have a new kitten in the house to deal with.

    • Ingrid
      July 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm (7 years ago)

      Thank you for allowing me to use your wonderful photo, Deb!

  43. Anna
    July 10, 2012 at 7:33 am (7 years ago)

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!
    It made me think about my Mom’s Theo and his “sister” Lilli, who didn’t like him at all when he joined the household as a kitten… but now they love eachother and are often snuggling up in the same basket! Tommi (Lilli’s brother) was just a little cautious and suspicious at the beginning, but he ended up loving Theo too! They are a happy little family now!!!

    • Ingrid
      July 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm (7 years ago)

      That’s so wonderful that Theo and Lilli are now getting along so well, Anna!


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