Chances are if you’re a PetParent to cats, you may at some point in your cat caring journey, find yourself wanting to add another cat or kitten into your household.
Many cats enjoy the company and companionship of other felines and they can be very social creatures. Still, an introduction to a new cat can be a stressful event because cats can be territorial. That’s why we’re providing you with tips and tricks on introducing your resident cat to a new cat addition to the home.
Take things slowly.
Cats need time to adjust. Bringing your new cat home and immediately releasing him into the house isn’t the preferred method. Your resident cat may be completely surprised by the ‘intruder’ in him home and lash out aggressively towards the new cat. Instead, it pays to be prepared. Before bringing your new cat home, take some time to set up an area for the new cat to adjust- a bedroom of his own, a large bathroom etc. Include a litter box, food & water, a bed & some toys into this new area. Bring the new cat here immediately when you arrive home, and spend some time with him while he adjusts. It’s likely that one of the cats will be more stressed out by this new situation than the other, so it’s important to move at the stressed out cats pace.
Smell first, meet later.
Everything about your house will smell like your resident cat to the newbie. But you’ll need to give your resident cat a way to get a sniff of the new cat before they meet face to face. Set out the carrier or blanket that your new cat came home in, and give your resident cat time to give it a good sniff.
We know what you’re thinking…it’s not fair to bring your new kitty home and lock him away from the family immediately. We promise this is temporary, and in everyone’s best interest. Try a technique called room swapping with the cats after a day or two and see how they react. This occurs by putting your resident cat in the new cats room for a time and allow the new kitty to explore the whole house. It’s much safer to allow this after a few days, since the new cat will have had time to adjust to being in your home, and is less likely to ‘spook’ and run out the door. Room swapping allows both cats to again, take in each others scents without fear of a confrontation.
Encourage the cats to find a reason to like each other! Start leaving small treats like bits of cheese, salmon, or cat treats near the door of the ‘new cats room’. They cats can hear & smell each other under the crack of the door, and will begin to make a positive association with the other cat as they devour their tasty rewards.
Try a towel down.
Many experts recommend mixing the cats scents by first rubbing one cat with a towel, and then rubbing the next cat with that same towel. Once the towel has the scent of both cats on it, rub it back on the original cat. The thought here is that if you ‘blend’ the smells of the two, they will begin to feel more of a bond together.
If all of our prior suggestions have been used and well received, it’s time to try the peek and eat. Get a small bowl of wet food or other tasty treat prepared for each kitty. Crack the door to the new cat room, and allow him to enjoy his treat in the open doorway with your resident cat eating somewhere nearby. Use this method for several days before finally allowing the cats to co-mingle.