Most of us have more than one cat in our home. And while our feline friends might be the best of buds now, the introduction may not have been easy. When introducing cats, there are a few key factors to consider. If you are planning on bringing a new cat into your home and you’re not exactly sure how to do it, I have some helpful tips for you to hopefully make life as easy as possible on the new kitty and the resident kitty in your home. If you know someone who could benefit from these tips, don’t forget to share them, too.
Here is my list of helpful tips for introducing cats to make life easier on all parties involved…
1. Carefully consider the temperament of both cats and practice patience
For cats that are laid-back and mellow, introductions typically go a lot easier. But most cats are not this way and this is not their fault in any way. Cats are highly territorial beings, and when you introduce a new cat into their home, keep this fact in mind. To your cat, you might pay the mortgage, but that house is their house and their house alone. Every square inch of your home has likely been strategically marked in their scent. So, when you bring a new cat or kitten into their home, they’re going to know it, too.
If at all possible, try to pick a new feline that would mesh well with your existing cat. If you know that your cat is shy, reserved, or upsets easily, a cat that’s quick to get in their face is probably not the most suitable housemate for them. When making the decision of introducing cats, consider your cat’s feelings over your desires. That way, things can go much more smoothly.
With that being said, remember to be patient above all. Do not force introductions. Simply putting the new cat with your existing cat into a room together instantly is a recipe for disaster. Your cats both need time to adjust. If you have a playful kitten and a senior cat at home, do not be surprised if your much more mature feline is quick to show their disapproval. This can happen via hissing, scratching, growling, or even spraying in your home. Over time, with patience, respect, and understanding, the two cats will be able to accept one another. But the most important thing to understand as a cat owner introducing cats to one another, is that time is always the best medicine.
2. Sharing is not caring just yet
Obviously if you are bringing another cat into your home, you’ll already have the feline essentials. But, just because you do, it’s highly recommended that you give each cat their own food bowl, bed, and litter box that’s theirs and theirs alone. Consider your existing cat’s space and things that are theirs by leaving them as such. Over time, as they make friends and become accustomed to one another, things could change. Be prepared and set up two areas in your home that can serve as a headquarters to each of the cats. By doing so, it’ll help each cat to acclimate much easier and ease tension in your home between new kitty and resident kitty. Remember, cats are not fans of change. And should they incur it, they prefer it to be strictly on their terms. Don’t be surprised if your “friendly” cat is suddenly quick to react over the presence of a cat up on their turf. Be respectful of them and make the changes gradual.
3. Be sure to dote on existing kitty and make them feel appreciated
Until this new cat arrived, your cat had the ability to get your undivided attention the very second that they wanted it. Of course you might be over the moon about the new cat in your home, but when introducing cats, it’s vital to your existing cat’s well-being that you continue to show him/her just how appreciated they are. Do your best to be proactive about splitting your time spent on the two cats to keep the peace. Cats can become very jealous over other cats, somewhat similar to the way in which children can grow jealous. Your cat’s want your attention, so don’t allow their aloof front to fool you. Be mindful of dividing your time spent between the two so that your existing cat doesn’t feel left out.
4. Help them to be exposed to each other’s scent
There are a two things that you can do to calm both of your cats and help them to adjust to one another. Feliway spray is an artificial pheromone product that often has a calming effect on cats and may ease territory-related anxiety. I’ve used another method personally that is totally free and proven highly effective.
Try providing them each with a blanket for them to lay on for a day or two so that it can get coated in their scent. Then, swap those blankets, so they can start to smell the other cat and grow used to the scent. When you feel as if the two are acclimated to the scent of the swapped blanket after a few days time, try having them “meet” through a closed door. You can do this by having one in the bathroom, where they can “meet” through the crack underneath when the door is closed.
For their next meeting, try an area where they can see each other but are seperated.
A baby gate is a great idea for this method, should you have one. If not, they’re quite inexpensive should you want to purchase one. When you are allowing your cats to finally meet one another, pay attention closely to signs of interest or of stress. If you notice they’ve taken interest in each other, this is great. But still take it slow. If you notice either or both of the cats is becoming easily stressed, limit their exposure to one another and don’t overdo it.
For owners of multiple cats, nothing makes us happier than to see our kitties getting along. I know I feel an immense sense of joy watching my kitties congregate, cuddle, and be near one another. But I can assure that things were not always this way. When it comes to cats, everything is on their terms. Remain positive, practice patience, and be ready to have your heart skip a beat when the day finally arrives to see that your cats have become the very best of friends.
Did you learn anything new or interesting about our feline friends? Share this article with other cat lovers that you know so that they can learn something, too.