Subject: Introducing a new kitten to a resident cat

Siamese and Bengal News

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Since this is the time of year so many people bring new kittens into their homes, I thought a newsletter on introductions might be helpful.

In the old days, people would put the new cat in with their resident cat and let them fight it out. The result was often one cat being sent to the shelter or left outside to fend for itself. If both cats were kept, the household was often tense because the cats did not like each other.

As more understanding of cat behavior occurs, we are learning that cats are territorial. With a careful introduction plan, it is possible to have two cats happily coexist and become buddies in the same house.

Initially, the newcomer should be placed in a safe room with food, water, litterbox, etc. This room should be secure and inaccessible to the resident cat.

Start out by wiping the new cat with a towel and placing that on the floor outside the safe room. Do the same with the resident cat so the new cat can become accustomed to the intruder's scent. The cat may hiss at the alien scent of the other cat. Swap scents for a few days until both cats are fairly mellow about the strange scents.

The next step is to give the new cat free roam of the house while confining the resident cat. After the new cat has some exploring time, place him back in his safe room and let the resident cat back out. Continue with this room swapping for a few days but don't let the cats actually meet.

If all is going well, it's time to do an initial introduction. Place the new cat in his carrier in the safe room and allow the resident cat to enter the safe room. Let the resident cat walk around and see the newcomer.

If there isn't too much hissing from the previous step, bring the newcomer out into the main house in his carrier. Repeat this step until there is no hissing and spitting.

Now, it's time for the first face to face meeting without a carrier. Bring the resident cat into the safe room and let the two cats meet. If there is excessive hissing, immediately separate them and back up a step. If this goes well for a few meetings, allow the new kitty out of the safe room and see how things go.

This process can go as quickly as 2 weeks or it can take months. The key to a successful integration is to be very gradual and not rush any step.

To discuss this and other issues relating to Siamese and Bengals, please visit our Siamese and Bengal forums.

I would also like to introduce our Sheltie forum.

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