How To Introduce A New Cat To Your Home
Set up a room for your new family member. Choose a smaller room, so your new kitten will feel more secure. In this room place his litter box, food and water dishes. Check the room and the rest of your home for hazards listed in "Cat Proofing Your Home".
Plan to keep your new cat or kitten isolated in this room until you are sure they are completely relaxed and acclimated to your home. If the kitten runs and hides when you walk into the room, he is not ready for the next step. If the kitten hides when he hears noises from outside his room, he is not ready for the next step. If you have other pets, they will be able to meet each other safely under the door. Keep your new cat in this room until all pets are no longer upset by each other as they meet under the door.
Once no one is hissing under the door :-)
Place all your current pets in the new cat’s room (Shut the door!) Do not let the animals get face to face as you do this.
Take your new cat and put him in the main litter box. Let him begin to explore your house from there.
Every 15 minutes, place the new cat back in the litter box. He will "map" your house from the litter box.
This serves several purposes:
Your current pets will have a chance to smell the new cat without any confrontation.
Your new cat will be able to explore the house without being stalked.
They will get used to each other faster, as they get used to each other’s scent with no confrontations.
The new cat will learn the house from the litter box. So when the “need” arises he will be able to find his way back to it.
When you run out of time, place the new cat back in his room and let your current pets back out in the house. They will continue the acceptance process on their own by smelling where the other has been.
Cats are more smell than sight oriented when accepting a newcomer. Two additional ways to speed up acceptance of a new cat:
Rub your current cat with a hand towel. Then rub the new cat with the same towel. Also do the reverse, rub the new cat first, then rub your cats with that towel. They will begin to smell alike and will learn to accept the new smell.
Put towels where your current cats and the new cat sleeps. Daily switch the towels around.
Do not let your dog harass the new cat. Allowing your dog to follow the new cat around will deeply stress your new cat. Any chasing, no matter what the speed, no matter if the dog will not harm the cat, obviously this is extremely stressful. Use a pet gate, crate or leash if necessary.
Give your current pets the same amount of attention they are used to. Do not spend more time with the newcomer.
Do not let younger children handle the kitten for the first couple of days. Ask them to sit quietly and let the kitten come to them. Explain to them that loud voices and quick movements will scare their new family member.
Remember, it is important not to let any problems begin from the start. Any fights or confrontations will trigger an unwanted behavior pattern. Our method of introducing pets will keep this from happening.
Also keep in mind there is no set time span. Some pets are friends in two days, some may take a month. Do not hurry the process, while keeping in mind you may have to backup a couple steps and you will have a harmonious household, with no litter box issues.
If you do not have other pets, following this procedure will allow your new cat to map your house from the litter box. And by keeping your new cat in "his" room in the beginning, will prevent accidents during the first days when your kitten is frightened by his new surroundings.