Getting a new kitten is a fun experience, but it can also be a little difficult if you already have an adult cat at home. Cats are very territorial, so your cat might not be welcoming to the kitten right away. However, you can make it a smooth transition if you follow these instructions for introducing the kitten to your adult cat.
Keep the Kitten Confined
It may not be your first choice, but it is best to keep the stress level of both the new kitten and the adult cat as low as possible. One way to do this is by keeping the kitten confined in its own area. Choose a room that is not your adult cat's favorite room and make sure it has a door you can close. Keep a bed, toys, scratching posts, litter box, food and water in this room.
The kitten should be kept confined in the room except for play time for several hours and up to a couple days, depending on how the cats are getting along. This allows the kitten time to adjust to being in a new home without being overly stressed by the adult cat's presence. Let your kitten out to be with you and the other cat, but supervise these play sessions carefully.
Help Them Adjust to the New Scents
Animals, including cats, will adjust better to each other when they get used to their scents. The scents should first be introduced even before you bring the kitten home. One way to do this is by swapping their blankets. Put your adult cat's blanket in the kitten's kennel while it is at the shelter, and bring the kitten's blanket home to your adult cat. If you can't do this before bringing the kitten home, you can wait until the kitten is home and confined in its area.
Start Introducing the Kitten Around
Once they have become familiar with each other's scents and the kitten has become accustomed to living in your home, it is time to start introducing the kitten to other parts of your home. Only allow it in one or two areas at a time instead of giving it free reign of your home. During this time, it is okay to leave the door of the kitten's area open as it might want to run back there for food, water, and the litter box. Don't be surprised if when the kitten becomes afraid, it seeks comfort in its room, even if the door is left open.
Don't Rush the Cats
Both the adult cat and kitten need time to adjust to the new living arrangements. Don't try to rush them or force them to play together. They may never want to be as social as you would like. By introducing them slowly, you can at least avoid most physical fights between them. Keep their interactions supervised until they are relaxed around each other.
If there are any fights between the kitten and cat that cause injuries, bring them both to the emergency vet (like those at Animal House Veterinary Hospital) right away.