How to introduce two kittens to three cats

by Robert
(New York)

I recently adopted two female kittens (16 weeks) and I have to introduce them to my three two year olds (two females and one male). They are all spayed/neutered and exclusively indoor cats. I've isolated the kittens in the basement to allow them to adjust to the new environment and keep them separate from the older cats.

My questions are as follows:

How long should I keep them separated from the adult cats and when should I begin introductions?

Also, what's the best way to introduce kittens to three established, affectionate and well-adjusted cats?

Thanks,
Robert


Dear Robert,

Congratulations on adding to your cat family, and thank you for writing in with your questions.
In all honesty, there are no set answers for your questions, but I'm happy to provide some tips.

As you can read in more detail on this page, the most important thing is to take your time introducing the new kittens to your well-established three-cat household. In terms of how long to keep your cats and new kittens separated, however, that really depends on your particular cats. It could be a few days, or even as much as a few weeks, depending on how your cats are responding to the kittens' presence in the house. Go slowly, and trust your instincts.

There are many things you can do to make the kittens a positive, rewarding experience for the well-established cats in your house, including providing treats, toys, and lots of love, praise, and attention when the cats are in the same room as the kittens peacefully. Pheromone products such as those made by Feliway can also help create a calm, pleasant environment for your cats. Although not entirely relevant for your situation, I go into detail about steps for helping cats get along in this question and answer from another reader.

Overall, introducing the kittens to your cats will just take time and patience. You're doing all the right things so far, and with time, your cats are likely to get along just fine. Enjoy them!

All the best,
Dr. Neely

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