We’ve all done it at some point. We bring a kitten into our home where there are older cats. And we do it for any number of reasons. Sometimes the kitten comes into our life unexpectedly, or we lose a cat and decide to fill the space in our home and our heart with a kitten, or one of our cats is aging and we get a kitten to liven up the place. I’ve probably used all of those excuses to adopt a kitten.
What’s interesting to me is that, while kittens come with their special personality, they also seem to learn from the senior resident cats things as complex and important as boundaries and behavior. If they get the okay from the resident cat to crawl on him while he’s sleeping and to play with his tail, he’ll probably become the older cat’s cuddle-mate. If the big cat knocks him off his paws a few times when he tries to get near, a close relationship probably won’t develop.
In our household, Lily came to us as friendly as any sweet kitten. When we’d have company, she’d greet them. She especially loved children. However, she quickly learned from Max that the doorbell or a knock on the door was a terrifying thing and she soon took his lead and began running to hide when someone came to visit.
Sophie got an opposite lesson. She was picked up from the street as a kitten running with a
pack of cats—possibly a colony. We brought her home from the veterinarian who spayed her scared out of her wits. Under the sofa she went as soon as we released her from the carrier.
However, when she saw Winfield, our super cool, calm, ultra-friendly cat, she warmed up to him and actually changed some of her wild ways. Sophie is 15 now and she still carries her wild genes, but the things she learned from Winfield have made her a lovely, loving pet—as long as there are no strangers around. She never quite got over her fear of strangers.
Here’s a beautiful site with great tips on how to introduce a kitten to an older cat. This relationship that you hope will bring extreme joy and comfort to both the older cat and the kitten, could go quickly awry if introduction isn’t done carefully and methodically. Here’s a useful guide just in case—like me—you’re considering adding a fur ball to your home at some point. https://www.thesprucepets.com/help-older-cat-accept-kitten-554827