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Your mature cats may not be keen to have another cat take up residence in their house. Some simple steps can ensure the smooth integration of a new cat into the daily routine.

The fur will fly if the new tenant is a mature cat. You may even end up with some hefty vet bills.

Go with a kitten, preferably no older than eight weeks. Crusty as they may be, mature cats seem to have tolerance for a kitten. Some will avoid it at all costs, jumping to high points inaccessible to the rambunctious newcomer. From there, they'll settle and evaluate its antics.

Expect some hissing and cuffing about as the pecking order is worked out, but claws will rarely be bared by the mature cat(s). Try not to intercede; the cats will work it out themselves.

If your cats go outdoors, keep the new kitten indoors for a couple of weeks and provide it the same run of the house enjoyed by the other cats.

Do show it the litter box; put it in the litter box only when it's clean. If possible, do this within a half hour of bringing the kitten into the house.

Show it the location of the food and water dishes. With dry food, cats usually self-feed. There is no need for separate dishes. If the cats receive a daily helping of wet food, individual dishes for these are advisable. At first you'll have to keep an eye on this operation until the kitten finds out it should not stick its nose into another cat's dish. The mature cats have to realize they can't bully the kitten away from its own dish, too.

If you spot a mature cat or two placidly lying or sitting in the vicinity of the food dishes or the litter box, they may be doing it to prevent the kitten from access. Send them hiking!

Avoid the tendency to give the kitten individual attention. If anything, give the mature cats more. Let them know they're still important.

Ensure the new kitten has a safe haven, a hidey hole where the big cats can't reach it. From time to time the little one will need it.

This is the time to resurrect the cat toys: the stuffed mouse, the strings, the balls. The kitten will love them; and, when they think you're not watching, the mature cats will put aside their dignity and play with them, too.

Introducing a tom kitten can be tricky if you have a mature tom cat in residence. If the mature tom cat is not neutered, you may have a chance it will accept the interloper but relations will be very cool. You can also expect some serious territorial spraying to begin.

A new kitten in the house can re-vitalize the old gang. It's well worth the effort!