Proper introductions are crucial
You’ve just fetched your kitten and you are so excited. The very first thing that your kitten needs to learn now is how to interact with her new family. For this everyone should sit on the floor and let the kitten go to each family member in her own time. Don’t force her into a social interaction because if you do you may end up with a cat who is anti-social for life!
When introducing children to your kitten ask the children to sit quietly and offer the kitten tasty treats for coming near them. They must be told not to grab at or hold her, as this could result in the child receiving a nasty scratch and the kitten having a lifelong fear of children. Children should never be allowed to chase the kitten, however having said all this, children and kittens generally get on well together and form a strong bond.
Introducing other cats
The introduction to other pets at home must be done slowly. When introducing your kitten to the resident cat, start off keeping the kitten in one room and not allowing your adult cat access. Start feeding both cats each side of the interleading door. If they are both comfortable eating there – great! If not, move their food away from the door to a distance where they both can eat, then gradually move the food back to the door.
This builds a positive association of something nice (food) with the smell of the kitten or cat. Once they are both comfortable with this, swop the rooms over so the older cat is in the room and the kitten is in the rest of the house. This way they get used to each other’s smell without actually meeting.
From here put both cats in separate baskets and put them in the same room, while constantly feeding them both treats to build up the association that the smell of the other cat equals good things. If all goes well, let them out in an enclosed room. A good idea is not to feed them before the meeting so they are both hungry and will be ready to eat the food you give them, from a suitable distance apart. They must be well-supervised and gradually these times together will get longer until they are comfortable together.
If you notice a problem, see Family Pet Centre’s resident behaviourist for expert advice.
Watch out for more articles on what else to teach the new kitty.
Comments will be approved before showing up.