How to introduce two cats

The kitten finds a home

For five years we were a one cat household. We believed we'd only have the one cat until recently when we added a 6 week old kitten. He arrived in the arms of two girls who said he was free to a good home, after his mother died and family moved away. The ginger cat looked like a cloud and was named Wolke, the German word for cloud.

Integrating the cats has been an interesting and rewarding task. Our resident cat, Molly, shy and unassuming watched from the otherside of the glass as the little kitten was moved closer to the window. She didn't hiss, or run away. This was how we made the decision to house the kitten.

This is an account of two weeks into our lifetime with new kitten and our cat.


Two cats, one on a basket, one in. The struggles of integrating a young cat with an older cat. They're at completely different life stages.
Two cats, one on a basket, one in. The struggles of integrating a young cat with an older cat. They're at completely different life stages.

Get the kitten their own stuff

Our older cat was suspiciously watching the kitten play and do things kittens do.

We made the decision to buy the kitten their own kitty litter box, food bowls (kitten food) and set up a pillow as a bed.

We also originally put the kitten in a separate room.

In our house, our cat stays in the laundry while we're out. I like the tulle on the windows and I don't like cat claws in it. My cat has a scratching post, toys, bed and food and water in the laundry and is an inside cat.

The new kitten spent the first week in the second bathroom, without missing a beat started using the kitty litter. Toilet training is a separate issue (although changes in this behavior of the resident cat can be a sign of distress).

Wolke, 7 weeks old, male ginger kitten, sitting in our older cats bed, right next to her. Nothing going on here. It was a week of sharing a room before the little kitten was able to get over to the big cats bed and both seemed comfortable enough.
Wolke, 7 weeks old, male ginger kitten, sitting in our older cats bed, right next to her. Nothing going on here. It was a week of sharing a room before the little kitten was able to get over to the big cats bed and both seemed comfortable enough.

Monitor play time

For the first week our older cat's routine changed, and she spent a lot of watching the kitten. Kitten's are excitable and active. We played with the kitten, and the cat. Paying special attention to give them extra time. In fact, it helped us play more with our resident cat, we'd become lazy and our cat didn't mind. She'd chase invisible things or sit on our laps.

The kitten and cat started sussing each other out, sniffing and tapping each other with their paws. This can look quite scaring, however if it's not accompanied by hissing and screeching it's OK.

Our older cat did hiss a little and the second swipe would include claws, the kitten however had the message and was clear of older cat. Our older cat wouldn't chase the kitten when she was angry. That signaled that playtime was over.

Then it is my turn to be the subject of the kittens action. We played until he calms down and he falls asleep on my lap.

Have you introduced another cat to the house?

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Molly, female domestic short hair, 5 years old. Sitting in her favourite spot, the window watching the world. No, I hope she doesn't have dreams of a wedding with tulle veil.
Molly, female domestic short hair, 5 years old. Sitting in her favourite spot, the window watching the world. No, I hope she doesn't have dreams of a wedding with tulle veil.

Do what it takes (Treat and bribe)

Molly was still keeping the kitten at arms length and not sitting with me when she normally would because the kitten was there. So I bought cat treats and gave them to her when she was nice to the kitten or sat with us. When they played well - I tried to end play time before the adult cat became cranky.

We're feeding the young cat wet food, and we haven't been feeding our older cat that for a long time. We started feeding her wet food when we feed the kitten (the same as the kitten, to avoid her eating the kittens food.) It seems to be working well, and the cat knows the food that belongs to kitten. While she sometimes eats the kittens food she is not stopping the kitten eating and moves out of the way when the kitten comes or I catch her.

Time out

Having a kitten that climbs your legs while you cook and bites your toes is cute for a bit, but there is times where it is challenging to function.

I put the little kitten in the laundry (as we slowly moved him in there, leaving his kitty litter and food in there for a day, and watched that our bigger cat barely reacted.) We moved him out that night back to the second bathroom, then moved him back in the next day and shut them both for an hour. Which went well. And they haven't been split for the past week. Our older cat is sick of him by the morning and likes her own time, while Wolke likes to play. I play with him to give our older cat some time out.


© 2014 Abbasangel

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Lynn Savitsky profile image

Lynn Savitsky 20 months ago from New Jersey

I'm thinking of adding another cat to my household, so this was really helpful.

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