Introducing Another Cat into Your Already Cat Friendly Household
You’ve decided to add a new cat to your family, but what about the cat (or cats) that you already have? Here is some advice to help when introducing a new cat to your already feline friendly household.
Giving your new cat its own space
Cats feel most comfortable in a space that smells like them. It’s important to give your new cat a space all to his/or herself in the beginning. Set aside a room such as a bedroom that can be completely away from your current cat(s). Give you new cat its own food and water bowls, litter box, bedding, toys and scratching area. Cats feel safe in smaller areas, by adding a box or tent into their room they can hid and it may help them feel less stressed. Adding pheromone spays or diffusers into both your new cat, and your current cat(s) areas can help keep all cats calm and facilitate reduced stress integration.
Bringing your new cat home
When bringing your new cat home you want to introduce them to their new room to decompress and adjust. Do not let your current cat(s) into this room, or introduce them yet. Your new cat may be shy or timid and hide in their new environment. That’s okay, don’t try and pull them out of their hiding spot. Talk to them softly, and offer them yummy food and treats instead. Cats are curious and will explore the room once they feel comfortable. This can take time and lots if patience. Some cats can take longer that others to adjust.
Once your new cat is comfortable in his/her room you can start swapping an item like a bed or blanket with your current cat(s). Introduce the scent into the opposite cats space and let them sniff it. If they hiss or run away don’t remove the it, but move it to an area they like to hang out often like a sleeping space or where they eat so they get used to the other cats scent. Once they are tolerate of the other cats scent you can go ahead with introduce your new cat to the rest of the house, without your current cat(s). Keep your current cat(s) into your bedroom, or a safe space and allow your new cat you explore your house safely. It can take awhile for your new cat to feel comfortable into the common areas of your house.
Once your new cat is comfortable in your house without seeing your other cat(s) it’s time to introduce them. Keep it safe by using a baby gate, or large kennel to introduce them visually first. Keep the introduction calm and positive. Offer treats to all cats. If there is any hissing remove your new cat and put him/her back in their own room. Try the same thing tomorrow but make the visit longer each time. If your current cat(s) walks up and sniffs noses, or wants to play through the gate with your new cat this is a great sign!
If everyone seem friendly towards each other, or they don’t seem to be bothered by each other at all open the door and allow everyone to explore the common space together. Again, keep this calm and positive by offering treats and toys. Make sure there is lots of space for everyone to keep their distance if they want.
Introductions, when done properly, can take more time than expected. Introductions and building a relationship for some cats may take a few hours or up to a few months. Your cats may play and groom each other, or just sit and watch each other. Just remember to keep it calm and positive, and don’t force interaction on them.
Do’s and Don’ts of Cat to Cat Introduction:
- Do give each cat its own separate space from each other.
- Do give each cat its own litter box (so important!).
- Don’t just leave them in a room together to work it out.
- Do add climbing towers and perches.
- Don’t pick them up and force them to interact