Tips on Introducing a New Cat to the Household!

Photo by: vetstreet.com

June is National Adopt-A-Cat month. There are so many lovely cats in need of a good home, but we all know that sometimes introducing two mature cats to each other isn’t as easy as it should be! Here are some tips to make the process a little smoother!

 

  1. Try to choose a cat that will be most likely to get along with your existing cat. For example, if your cat is playful then another cat that likes to play may be a good idea.  It is recommended that a new cat visit a veterinarian before any contact with other cats in the household. Most veterinarians offer a complimentary first visit after adopting from the local shelter.
  2. Establish a separate “territory” in another room for the new cat to live in for at least a week. Provide hiding places for the new cat to retreat to if necessary. Make sure to visit and reassure your new kitty often!
  3. Exchange the cats’ scents by using the same brush on each cat or by trading blankets. This is beneficial because cats have glands in their cheeks that produce pheromones, which can create feelings of calm and wellbeing. Pheromone sprays, such as Feliway can also help reduce anxiety. Feliway is a synthetic version of the pheromone that a mother cat would use to soothe her kittens.
  4. Once the new cat seems comfortable in its room you can rotate spaces by putting the resident cat(s) into that room while the new cat has a chance to explore the rest of the house for the day
  5. Gradually introduce the cats to each other. For example, you might try:

-Feeding the cats on either side of a doorway

-Opening the door to the new cat’s room in increasing amounts

-Using a baby gate to separate the cats so that they can see and smell each other

-Placing the new cat in a carrier and allowing the other cats to meet it this way

-Eventually, you can encourage the cats to play with each other by dangling toys in front of them at the same time

-Supplying enough litter pans is important. You can use the 1+ rule (i.e 3 cats = 4 litter pans).

6.   Watch for signs of distress, such as excessive vocalization and aggressive body language (flat ears, arched back, and/or tail straight up). If this occurs, separate the cats again and start the process over.

 

Introducing a new cat to your home can be a slow process. The hierarchy in the house can take weeks to establish. However, a successful outcome is well worth practicing patience!

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