Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

The Essentials

  • Start in separate rooms — This is a good idea, as it lets you introduce the scent of each cat slowly, normalizing the presence of both the newcomer and the “regular(s).” 
  • Don’t rush the introduction process — You and your fur babies aren’t in a rush. Take all the time you need to walk through the introduction steps. Doing this gives your cats the best chance at a lifetime bond.
  • Invest in the right tools — Harnesses, baby gates, and other related products can be helpful tools to corral both the new arrival and the other household pet(s). Feel free to invest in these as needed to keep your home in control and as calm as possible.

Introducing existing cats to new arrivals in your home can be daunting and requires constant supervision and gentle transitions. Pet parents often begin by swapping bedding and food bowls between cats to get them used to the smell of the other, working toward eventual cohabitation and playing in the same room. And, while a primary concern is often how cats will get along with dogs, familiarizing two cats together can often be just as challenging. 

If you find that your process is taking a while, it’s easy to get discouraged. If that’s you, we want to take a second and encourage you—even the coolest cat can get a little jumpy when you welcome a new feline friend into your home! 

If you’re looking for tips about how to introduce a kitten to a cat (or introducing cats without separation), you’re in luck. We’re covering everything you need to know about the process down below.

1. Preparing your home

Before any part of the introduction process begins, you must create a safe and separate area for your new kitten to be in. Having this space ready before the meeting allows your furry friend to have a secure spot to run back to if they need a second—much like humans would step outside for a breather at a busy party. 

Here’s a short list of what you should include in your kitten’s safe space: 

  • Food and water. At the start of your transition, it’s best to have separate resources that allow your new kitten to eat and drink safely and calmly. 
  • Hiding places. Cats get overwhelmed, too! Having plenty of nooks and crannies for your kitten to run to will help them to feel safer more quickly, acclimating them to your home. Bonus points if these corners are lined with comfy, pet-safe bedding material. If you’ve got the space and budget, consider a cat tree.
  • Litter tray. While the goal might be to have a single common litter box or “toilet room,” you’re probably going to want to keep your pets separate for now. This is especially true if your kitten is going through de-worming treatment or other regimens that require separation, or if they are still going through litter box training.
  • Toys. You can’t forget the cat toys! These little additions offer major contributions to your cat’s enrichment.

2. Swapping scents

Experts believe that cats have up to 200 million olfactory receptors—which is 40 times what humans have when it comes to scent recognition and attribution. This means that scents are a very important part of the introductory process between two or more feline friends — and it’s something that owners can use to their advantage. 

Before introducing multiple animals together in the same room, tee yourself up for success by allowing one pet to roll around or engage around a small towel or rag in your home. Then, simply drop it in the separated environment of your other animal(s), letting it be like a heads-up or calling card of sorts.

Be sure to do this with all of the animals in your home, allowing all parties involved to get a good sniff in. Repeat for a few days, allowing the scent to become familiar before an in-person pet meeting.

3. Visual introduction

After your resident cat family and the newcomer(s) go through the sniffing process, it’s time for a visual introduction. There are many ways to do this step, including: 

  • Using a child’s gate: Baby gates are a great way to introduce your cats. They can see each other through the mesh or bars without high risk of serious injury. 
  • An open door (and two pet parents): This tactic requires a little help from some pet-loving friends, but can be effective if you don’t have access to a baby gate. Simply hold the door to a room open slightly—allowing your cats to peek but not swipe. This allows them to get some up-close sniffs in with a lower risk of a claw to the face. 

We understand that some feline friends don’t like either of these options—and may prefer the option presented in point number four below.

4. Let the new family member explore

If your meeting between the new pet and current adult cats in your home is going well, you might want to let them roam freely after a week or so. You can also use this technique if your cats are suspicious of the “casual glance” method above. 

Ready to start? Simply put your current cat up in their own “safe place” and shut the door. Then, let the incoming cat explore their new home, leaving the door to their safe room open if they need a retreat. You can do this for short periods, working up to an eventual duration of a few hours at most. 

Be sure to supervise them during this time to make sure that they’re staying safe. For example: If your kitten’s a climber, you want to be sure that you’re within easy access reach of them at all times. You won’t want to pry your new cat from the curtain rod this early in the game. 

Need help with kitten-proofing? We’ve got you covered. Check out the how-to video below. Looking for general cat ownership tips? Here’s access to our comprehensive guide for all things cat. 

5. Make a formal introduction

Now that you’ve given your animals time to adjust to all of the new smells, new experiences, and everything else, it’s time for your kitten to make a formal debut in the home with your other animals. You can usually take this step without professional help; simply experiment with this step when the established cat doesn’t react negatively to the new cat’s scent.  

Here are a few settings to consider for your kitten’s debut: 


Mealtime can be a handy time to introduce your kitten and adult cat(s). Just be sure to allow each cat to have their food and water to avoid unnecessary territorial behavior or aggression . If you think this will be difficult (which you might if your cat’s pretty enthusiastic about snack time), you can try using special treats or wet food to lure everyone to their separate “spots.” Plus, a little positive association between your new kitten and an extra-scrumptious mealtime could work in your favor. 


Playtime, while fun separately, can be done in a cooperative way that lets your established cat watch the kitten from a “safe distance.” Grab some fun kitten play toys and let your cat go ham; allowing plenty of time for one-on-one play to occur between yourself, your kitten, and the other cats if they want to join in. 

If you notice that the other cats are a little slow to join the fun, it can be perfectly normal. Many older cats might be entertained merely by watching your kitten. 

Ongoing supervision

No matter how you choose to formally introduce your cats, there’s one step in the process that’s essential—maintaining ongoing supervision to make sure nothing gets out of hand. You should keep a sharp eye out for any signs of aggression toward your newcomer for at least a few days after neutrality is reached. 

⏰ We know it can be overwhelming, especially if you’re busy. With this in mind, it can be helpful to create a rotating schedule with your roommates or partner and remember that it’s just a phase.

Warning signs to watch out for

As you go through the process, be sure to keep an eye out for body language warning signs that could indicate stress or aggression. The most common signs of strain in cats include: 

  • Vocalization — While mewing and meowing are normal, harsh cat screams and hissing are not. Keep an eye and an ear out for this behavior change. 
  • Excessive grooming — Often shown by (a lot) more hairballs and bald patches, changes in grooming patterns can indicate stress or anxiety and usually require intervention.
  • Urinary changes — This symptom can be serious and may potentially lead to kidney dysfunction over time. Keep an eye on your cat’s litter box to ensure that their output stays fairly regular. (Here’s a helpful guide on cat pee cleaning if they miss, or if they’re intentionally marking their territory.)

Tips for you on how to introduce a kitten to a cat

While it might seem stressful right now, we want to reiterate that it is possible to successfully introduce your new kitten to your home’s adult cat(s)—and you, as the parent, can play an important role in establishing a lifelong bond between every member of your feline family. 

Here are a few tips to make your experience the best that it can be: 

Patience is key 

Cats, like humans, can take time to form social bonds . It can help to be as patient as possible with all of your furry friends during this time of change; working to respond graciously and maintain a positive energy in the house. Don’t feel like you’re on a time clock to make this work—because you’re not. You can take all the time you need to facilitate comfortable, day-to-day interactions with your cats. 

Understand how to deal with aggression 

Catfights happen. And they can happen at any point in the socialization process. If you notice signs of aggression like those listed above, it’s best to separate the cats before injuries occur. Don’t respond with harshness, loudness, or aggression yourself, as this may worsen the issue. 

Keep safe spaces readily accessible 

It can be easy to let a door close or a path get blocked off. However, these small changes can cause your new and established cats to feel a higher degree of stress and may make them feel as if they have no place “safe” to be when they need a retreat. Keep accessibility top of mind before, during, and after the transition periods. 

Every cat is unique and comes with their own needs and experiences to consider during the socialization process. Understanding this can help you to make the transition steps as simple and pain-free as possible.

Frequently asked questions

How do cats do with a new kitten? 

Every cat reacts to the presence of a kitten differently. Because of this, it’s helpful to take the time to learn your cat’s specific reaction before diving headfirst into the socialization process. This simple step can help you to have a more favorable outcome between all cats in your household, minimizing fights and stress overall. 

Do cats get jealous of new kittens? 

Cats can get jealous of new kittens, which is why it’s best to introduce everyone strategically. Pet parents can use mealtimes for casual introductions after every cat is scent-familiar with the other. This will create a positive association with special mealtime treats and the appearance of your new furry friend. 

What if my cat hates my new kitten? 

Your cat likely won’t outright hate the new kitten. They may need extra time to come around. Additionally, even if the cat did hate the kitten, they would likely ignore them—giving them the cold shoulder until they were comfortable with each other. If you notice signs of aggression, separate them and let them “cool off” in safe spaces before attempting to socialize them again. 

Should I let my cat hiss at the new kitten? 

Hissing isn’t a sign of aggression so much as it is displeasure. Your cat may feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or jealous. Be prepared to separate them if the situation escalates, but allow them to vocalize as needed during the social interaction. 

Should I let my cat swat at my kitten? 

No, you should not let your cat swat at your incoming kitten. This is a sign of aggression and it can escalate further. Separate your cat from your kitten and let them both “cool down” before attempting to socialize again.