How to Adopt a Kitten & an Adult Cat Together

A kitten and an older cat might become friends who sleep and play together.
i Jupiterimages/ Images

Adopting an adult cat at the same time you adopt a kitten might give you the best of both worlds. You could enjoy both the kitten's antics and the calm affection of an adult cat. The kitten might reawaken the older cat's sense of play, and the adult cat could be a mellowing influence on the kitten's exuberance. However, if you're not careful in selecting your new pets, you might end up in feline hell instead of a cat lover's paradise. Consider the health and personalities of the cats you'd be bringing home.

Step 1

Consider whether your home has room for two cats to co-exist peacefully. Just like human roommates, cats are more likely to experience friction if they can't find separate spaces. Territoriality and dominance problems come up more frequently if the cats do not have a selection of comfortable sleeping spaces and perches for looking out of windows. If you live in very small space, you might be better off getting only one cat, or bringing home two cats who are already bonded to each other.

Prepare your home for. Make sure you have two cat beds and multiple cat toys so that the cats do not have to share things if they do not feel like it. Place the litter boxes -- three boxes if you have two cats -- where cats can approach them from multiple angles, rather than in a closet or another confined area.

Step 2

Find a reputable animal shelter. A good shelter takes care of the health of the animals it seeks to re-home. Try to avoid shelters that make money by breeding animals. If possible, try to adopt from a no-kill shelter, as this way an animal will get a second chance if you return it for not fitting into your household. Shelters that euthanize animals sometimes destroy animals who are returned, deeming them "unadoptable."

Step 3

Ask the shelter volunteers and staff members to help you find an adult cat and kitten who are likely to get along with each other. You might want to inquire whether the shelter has an existing cat-kitten bonded pair, perhaps a mother cat and her kitten. Many shelters have separate rooms where two potential adoptees can interact, so that prospective adopters can see how they react to each other.

A good shelter will tell you about any health problems that could affect the amount of care the cats would require, as well as their ability to interact with other felines. For instance, cats with some communicable diseases can live long and happy lives but can co-habit only with other cats with the same disease.

Step 4

Introduce the cats to each other carefully. Keep them in separate but adjacent rooms initially, to see how they react to the scent of each other. If they hiss at each other through a closed door, wait awhile to let them become familiar with each other's scent.

A grown cat won't usually fight a young kitten, but make sure you're present the first time they're in the same room. Wait until they seem calm and relaxed in each other's presence before leaving them alone together.

the nest