How do I introduce a two-month-old male kitten to my five-year-old female cat?
First, make sure that your kitten is healthy prior to introducing him to your older cat. Before bringing him home, take him to your veterinarian for a complete exam, including laboratory testing (your veterinarian may wish to do a leukemia test).
It is best to introduce the kitten to your cat slowly — don’t force them to interact. A gradual process of discovery and investigation is best. Bring the kitten into the house in a travel crate and let your older cat approach the crate and sniff, hiss and paw at it. Then reverse the situation by putting the older cat in the crate and let the kitten explore around the crate.
When both cats appear comfortable, allow them to roam freely together under your direct supervision. You should expect some hesitation and hissing from either or both cats during their first encounter. Once they seem relatively calm, feed them together in the same general vicinity, but not right next to each other. Separate them after the feeding. As they become gradually calmer, allow them to spend progressively longer periods together each day until they seem to be completely comfortable. Make sure you have at least two litter boxes — one for each cat.
It may take a week or two for them to become comfortable, but they should gradually adapt to each other. Be patient. Some cats are less sociable toward others and less willing to share their territory. With time, most cats learn to accept others in the household.
Consult your veterinarian for advice if your cats have not become accustomed to one another after a few weeks of interaction.
This question was answered by Dr. Pam Nichols, hospital director of Animal Care Center in West Bountiful, Utah.