As a cat owner enamored with their fur baby, you might decide that your feline could use another friend. Introducing cats to other cats should be a simple feat, right?
Proceed with caution when you decide it is time to introduce your cat to other cats. It should be with an open mind and an abundance of patience that you tackle this newest member of your family.
Please note that all cats will not by nature have a good relationship with all cats, and you should do a bit of upfront research on your brand to try and ensure that you start with some of the best options for your feline. Also, cats are territorial creatures, and thus, much of what we will review is about introducing a new cat to an existing feline’s home environment. Patience, observation, and reinforcing good behavior are part of your job throughout this process.
Slow and Steady
First and foremost, never get a new cat, young or old, and then leave them with your other cat while you go to work or out without any supervision. This can have catastrophic consequences, especially for younger, weaker, or older cats.
Due to the territorial nature of felines, such behaviors as hissing, aggressive, and the like are expected when introducing new cats into the family. Additionally, elder cats will be the most difficult to acclimate to new felines in the house, and this process is normally much more successful in young cats. You want to make the introductions slow, possibly over days or longer, for the best success. How are you going to manage this best?
Try to set up your home space for a safe introduction of a new feline, with separate spaces for both the existing and newcomer. Separate food, sleeping, and even litter boxes are best. These will ensure that food aggression, territory issues, and the like are not a reality during this introduction period.
Finally, it allows both felines to have their own safe space, which they can retreat to in between playtime together. Remember the territorial aspect of your cat’s nature, and this setup can help alleviate issues in this regard by giving them their own area, food, and such.
As your two fur babies get acquainted, swapping bedding between their individual spaces allows them to grow accustomed to the other’s scent. Just move one blanket or article from each of the separate spaces to the other. This allows them to grow comfortable with the scent of the other without immediately being in direct line of sight. Additionally, this should help alleviate some of the hissing and aggression when you evaluate the waters with them in the same room.
Of course, the last step will be having the cats share space. This should be done without food or other triggers that could cause aggression on either part. Let them smell each other out and do a bit of posturing. They will further get acquainted with the other’s scent and may challenge others initially. Please know that there is no magic timeframe in which this new paring will be alone together.
Within seven days, normally, the hissing and aggravation in the presence of the other should calm. Of course, the best way to further reinforce the good transitional behaviors is through treats. Be sure and constantly reassure and reinforce the positive things when the two felines meet, which will quickly cement this new relationship.
Be Patient When Introducing Cats
When deciding to get a new cat, remember patience and perseverance will be the best to win over this new pairing. Set up the home with separate spaces for eating and sleeping initially. Allow your feline to retreat to this space if they feel aggression or unease when doing face-to-face meetings with the other cat or cats. Keep food, toys, and such separate to avoid aggressive behaviors as the naturally territorial cats feel their way out to this newcomer in their home.
When you allow them the freedom to roam near each other, allow them space to test the waters. Getting used to each other’s scents may result in some hissing and swatting, which is normal. Of course, if overly harsh aggression is noted and could cause actual harm to one or the other, be sure and separate them again.
Finally, reward the positive behaviors shown during the transition, and give the cats equal cuddle time and treats. With a little bit of planning and support, your home will have two cuddly fur babies that will be friends in no time.