Timing for integrating cats?

by Abigail
(El Paso)

Over the past week, I’ve slowly tried to introduce my new 9 week old kitten to my 7 month old resident kitten. Naturally, my resident kitten was unhappy and hissed when they first met. I immediately separated them.

I’ve done scent swapping and am allowing interactions through a cracked door several times a day, every day. My resident kitten hissed a few times when I first began this, but has since subsided after a day or two.

They now interact through the cracked door by pawing at each other with seemingly no aggressive behavior (no hissing, growling, pinned ears, puffed tailed, etc.).

I’ve also done some positive association through feeding times. They both eat by the door next to each other without incident.

When will I know when it’s safe to take the next step in integration? I don’t want my resident cat to hurt the new kitten since she is significantly bigger than my new kitten.

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That sounds normal
by: Kurt (Admin)

That sounds pretty normal to me, Abigail, as long as it doesn't get too rough. As they get older and spend more time together, their relationship should develop. I'm glad to hear they're doing well!

Response to Kurt
by: Abigail

Thanks for the comment, Kurt!

I introduced them face to face yesterday and it went well, no fighting, hissing, etc.

The only thing that concerns me is that my resident kitten keeps pinning down my new kitten. I know this sort of dominance display is normal, but it’s pretty much constant whenever they are face to face.

My new kittens reaction seems pretty submissive. She just lays on her back, no crying or anything. She’ll even try to play with my resident kitten once she manages to get free.

Should this behavior taper off as they have more face to face exposure?

You're doing well
by: Kurt (Admin)

It sounds like you're doing the right things. Since things are going well, I would make sure to have play sessions under the door with a toy for a day or so. This will put the focus on the toy and not the other cat.

If there's no hissing or aggressive moves during the play sessions, that's a good sign that you could try to move forward with things.

In the end, it's a judgement call on your part. Let us know how it goes.

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