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That initial meeting of a new kitten to your family cat can be a bit of an ordeal for all concerned. I've owned both female and male kittens when I've had an older cat of the opposite sex and it's always been a stressful introduction. Lots of people say that once your cat has been neutered it won't matter there sex. That maybe true for some people but it didn't work for me. Others say that they will get along better if they're opposites but I have found out the hard way that this doesn't always this work. When I had an older male cat and brought home a female kitten he was petrified. As small as she was she made it clear from the start that she was in charge. Poor old man. So when he passed away and I looked at getting a friend for her I thought I'd do it the other way round and look for a male kitten. That didn't work either. She soon put him in his place. However, now that he's a big boy and has fallen head over heels in love with her they get on better. Of course she will still hold him down when he's missed a bit when washing, but apart from that they both get on better.

So what steps can you take to give the new member of your family a head start with the resident cat.

Firstly make sure you have plenty of time to devote to settling them in. They will become anxious if you're not around enough. Remember they've just been separated from their mother and this new home is dauntingly large and has new smells they don't recognise.

Then choose a room for the kitten to stay in for a few days. Buy a new litter tray, bed, scratch post and cat toys. It's not advisable to use anything from the other cat as the kitten needs to start off establishing his own scent on his toys. Also use new cat bowls for food and water. Don't let the other cat in the room. They will sense that the other is there and that will be plenty for them to cope with in the beginning. It will also allow them both to get used to the others scent without having to meet straight away.

Try and act as normal as possible with your other cat. Of course when they come to you give them lots of affection and the occasional treat, this will be greatly received. They won't let you forget that they are the top cat. It will also make it easier when the kitten is introduced as the other cat will feel more secure that you love them just as much as you did before.

After a while you can bring an item to your cat that your new kitten has been playing with and vice versa to help with scent swapping.

Now, for the introduction….

Leave the door ajar and let them meet in their own time. Be there for this first meeting. If you can, take a few days off to be around as much as possible, if not try to do this over a weekend.

They will hiss and maybe arch their backs at each other, don't interfere. They will probably growl and paw at each other, don't interfere. There may even be a bit of fur flying as well, only separate them if it gets nasty.

You must never shout or punish either cat, this is normal behaviour in the feline world, they will just be working out cat rank and house position between them.

Keep the kitten bowls, beds and litter tray in their room as your older cat will be very upset if his or her routine is messed up. Territory is being sorted out between them at this time. It is also a safe place for your kitten to retreat to if it all becomes a bit too much.

After a few days try to get them to play together. Nothing too hard a simple ball or string game. Chances are your older cat will watch, stretch, yawn and walk off, but at least it's some interaction between them.

As cute as this little ball of fur is don't forget your other cat needs equal attention, jealousy in a cat is a frightening thing! Don't think your older cat will forgive you.

They can take months even a year to get used to each other. Don't forget cats are extremely independent and are used to being the bosses in the house, so they will get there when they get there.

Of course you can try and follow every tip in the world, but there is always the chance that they won't get along simply because their characters clash. There are plenty of tips out there, my personal one, which I have tried and tested, has worked for me. Most people will disagree and pretty much every pet site will say the complete opposite to me, but whenever I've had two neutered cats of the same sex they've gotten on great.

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