Last month we floated the idea of adopting a new cat to keep your current kitty company. This month we’ll go over some plans for introducing your cat to their new friend. In an ideal world, your newcomer would be the opposite gender, fixed, smaller, and younger than your current cat. With any new addition to your pet family you should plan to take it slowly because this is a stressful time for both cats involved. We don’t want either cat to have a bad experience or get injured.
Do these steps slowly, while gauging their tolerance to each other. Some cats may accept a newcomer in a couple of days; others may take a lot longer.
- Before you bring the new cat home set up a separate safe room for the newcomer. They will need their own litter box, food and water bowls (be sure they are not near the litter box), and toys.
- Scent is very important for cats. Let them smell each other indirectly by rubbing a towel on one and letting the other smell it. Do this with both cats and leave the scented towel near their food dish.
- Expect some hissing thru the door; this is a natural and normal behavior as they start to figure out the pecking order.
- On day two, switch the cats around for a bit. Allow the new cat to explore the whole house and put your old cat in the new cat’s safe room for an hour or so. Do this for a couple of days, so they get a chance to inspect and smell the others’ lair.
- After a couple of days of doing the steps above, allow the cats to sniff each other through an open door with a baby gate up. They may hiss or even ignore each other, which is OK and completely normal.
- If you feel they are ready to mingle, do so under close supervision. Ignore any hissing and growling, only intervene if an actual physical battle breaks out.
- Make this first activity together a fun one; they will learn to associate their new friend with pleasure. Play a game with them, feed them (in separate dishes placed a bit away from each other), pet them, and offer a lot of praise.
- If things go badly back up a few steps and take it slowly. Introductions can take from 2 hours to 6 months (most happen in a week or so).
Nine chances out of ten, your cats will soon be best buddies and get along famously, just be patient.