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Home Pet Q&A Cat Questions How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Get Used To A New Kitten?

How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Get Used To A New Kitten?

It can take several weeks to several months for a cat to get used to a new kitten—and even longer for them to become "friends." Some cats will learn to tolerate a newcomer, but may never be interested in playing or napping together. In other cases, the cat will take to the kitten right away. Each cat's personality is different, so it's hard to know what to expect when a new pet is introduced to the home.

Proper Introductions: The Best Chance for Success 

Putting two cats together and expecting them to get along can actually have the opposite effect. Instead, you'll want to take the time to broker a proper introduction. Doing so gives you the best chance of the cats learning to get along.

To properly introduce cats, you'll want to implement four steps:

  • Isolation: Put the kitten in a room with their food, litter, and toys. That will be the kitten's home for a few days. Place the resident cat's food bowl just outside the door.
  • Introduce through Sight and Scent: Swap the cats blankets, so they get used to each other's scents. Prop the door open so the cats can see each other, and put one cat in a carrier and put the carrier in a room with other cat.
  • First Meeting: Place your resident cat in the room with the kitten. Stay close by to break up a scuffle, if necessary. Limit the first few meetings to 10 minutes or so.
  • Increase Length of Time Together: Slowly increase the amount of time the cats are spending together. If the older cat gets aggressive, give it a day or two before going back to the prior step and trying again. 

To further increase the chances of success:

  • Don't expect your current cat to share—it's not a strong suit of felines. Instead, purchase more litter boxes (the standard is one per cat plus one additional box), another set of food bowls, bed, toys, etc…for the new kitten.
  • Spend lots of time playing with the cats together and giving them treats and attention.
  • Don't rush things. It can take some cats months to warm up. If they are tolerating each other, consider that a success. 

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