Welcoming Your New Kitten to Your Home
Maybe you’re adopting a new Maine Coon kitten soon and you need to know how to introduce a kitten to a cat. Perhaps you have already chosen one to add to your furry family. When it’s time to bring a new kitten into your home, it’s important that you do it right. Maine Coons make awesome pets, so it's relatively easy to introduce them to your existing pet family.
You might be eager to create friendships between the new addition and your other fur babies, but it’s essential that you take your time. These are a couple of the risks of rushing through an introduction or skipping the introduction completely:
- Your pets can become stressed. This applies to both your current pets and the new ones too. Your current pets may be stressed out by all of the changes that come with a new pet. Stress in animals causes them to become sick. Plus, they will likely be territorial. Your new kitten will be adjusting to a new place and new pets. It’s best to follow the guidelines to keep everyone calm.
- Your pets will meet each other on their own. This is not advisable, because your pets might bully one another. If your large dog has never been around a kitten, they will not know how to treat it. You should supervise the interactions between your pets to ensure that all of the pets stay safe.
It’s worth noting that you cannot introduce new kittens the same way to dogs and cats. There are unique recommendations for cats and for dogs to make the process go more smoothly.
You should introduce your pets properly so that they can all adjust well. This is a huge change that your pets do not fully understand. By taking the correct steps, you will ensure a safe and healthy environment for your existing pet as well as the newcomer.
Guidelines for Introducing your New Maine Coon Kitten
In general, when you introduce a kitten to the other pets in your home, you should follow these guidelines. We will get into the specifics for cats and dogs next.
- Keep your current pets on their schedule. If you change a pet’s schedule, they aren’t going to be very happy. Many pets have learned when they eat, when they go for walks, and more. To keep the peace, try your best to stick to your pets’ routines.
- Keep the kitten in a separate space for as long as possible. Not only does your new kitten have to meet their new roommates but they also have to get used to the new territory. If you can, let your kitten become accustomed to the new home in a separate room for a few days. After several days, bring them out and allow them to interact with the other pets.
- Make sure you have plenty of time to introduce your pets. If you are going to be really busy one day, find a different time to have your pets meet each other. This process will take some time. Of course, it’s worth it so that your pets can be comfortable with one another!
Introducing a Kitten to a Cat
To begin introducing your kitten to the other cats, you should allow them to be in separate spaces for a few days. When your new kitten comes home, place him or her in the bathroom or other small Kitten proof room along with a litter box, toys, food and water. This will becomes your kitten's "safe zone". The kittens should stay in the room for a few days, until she feels comfortable in the new home. The kitten can also get used to the noises of the household as well as the scents of any animals that live there.
After that, you will want to place the kitten in a carrier or crate. Allow your other cats to enter the room and smell the kitten’s toys or blankets. The purpose of this it to let each of them know that they can investigate without the risk of being attacked. They can sniff around and observe, without coming into contact with one another. Do this until there are no signs of aggression.
Once the cats are comfortable with each other, you can open the kitten’s carrier. This will give them the option to roam about with the other cats or to hide if they feel unsafe.
To make the transition easier, maintain the same level of care and affection for your first cats. Be prepared for some hissing, meowing, and potential fighting between the cats. For this reason, it is essential that you keep a close eye on the pets at all times. Give each cat their own litter box, food bowls, and toys to help with any territorial issues.
Introducing a Kitten to a Dog
Dogs are easier to introduce to cats and kittens. To start, you can place the kitten in a room with everything they need and block the doorway with a baby gate. The kitten then has the opportunity to jump over the gate if they would like to. Allow the dogs to look at the kitten through the gate. If the dogs seem too interested in the kitten, try to direct their attention elsewhere with a toy. Be sure to give the dogs treats as a reward for looking away from the kitten.
The purpose of this process is to help the dogs to get used to the kitten without becoming obsessed. Eventually, the dogs should become desensitized and care less. Once this happens, the dogs and kitten can be around each other. Watch for either type of pet to make any sudden moves.
It's always a good idea to keep your kitten in a safe place if you're not able to constantly monitor the animals until you are 100% comfortable with them being alone together.
The Blanket Swap Method
Another way to introduce a kitten to the other pets in your home is to swap their blankets so that they get used to each other’s scents. This can also be accomplished by having the pets eat on either side of a door at the same time. They will be separated and they will associate each other’s scent with the pleasant smell of food.
This may last several days or a couple of weeks. You should try these steps a couple of times per day. Make sure that you are monitoring all of the pets’ behaviors and reactions to ensure that they are all okay.
In some cases, these guidelines may not work. This can depend on the kitten’s background or the other pets’ backgrounds, among other factors. If you’re dealing with a particularly difficult situation, consult a veterinarian. They can provide advice for your pets’ specific needs or conditions.
Introducing Kittens to Fish and Mice
If you happen to have other pets, such as fish or small animals, it’s best to take things slow. Some experts suggest not even showing the new kitten where the fish, rodents, or hermit crabs are living. This “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” strategy can work pretty well as long as the smaller pets stay in a tank or cage most of the time. With other cats and dogs, your kitten will naturally encounter them. Because of this, it’s strongly advised that those pets meet properly.
To keep a stress-free environment for all of the pets involved, try to follow the steps listed previously. This will make the overall transition easier for your current pets and the new ones as well. It may take some extra time and effort, but it will be well worth it in the end! Check this article out for more tips on How to Care for a Maine Coon.