Introducing A New Cat To My Cats Guide
If you are adopting a cat this is the best thing you can do, you will not only be giving a cat a home of its own but also a family of its own. You will also be giving another cat a chance of achieving this because the adoption centre will have a free space to take another cat in. Unfortunately, there is always another cat waiting to fill the vacancy.
“We would love to adopt BUT we already have a cat and worry that they may not get on together”.
Read on and you will find that introducing a new cat you do not have to worry that much.
Introducing a new cat to your cat family.
This is definitely not the time for some speed dating. Introducing a new cat to your resident cat needs planning and taken slowly, in steps. Better than letting them sort it between themselves, especially if you like your home in the condition it is in! First impressions are all important to prevent a negative start so always go at your cat’s pace, only moving to the next step if there are no signs of fighting or aggression. Let’s get started.
Before you collect your new cat prepare a cat-safe room for it set up so it is as comfortable as possible. Cat’s don’t like to eat, drink, toilet and sleep in the same area so make the best of the space you have to keep these apart. Ideally, the cat-safe room will have a window (kept securely shut) it can view out of, a private hiding place away from the door, toys, a scratching post and litter tray. Once your cat is home and settled in its safe room try placing a toy onto the door handle either side of the door and a few treats. This is to allow limited association with the resident cat but no direct visual contact yet.
Step 3 – Visual contact
If there are no signs of aggression from scent swapping or around the cat-safe room door you can now move on to visual only contact. Visual contact should be as frequent as possible and can be achieved by having transparent plastic or netting over the safe-room doorway. Or leave the door ajar just enough to see each other but not wide enough for them to get in or out to meet. Don’t attempt a face-to-face meeting until the cats either ignore each other or attempt to rub heads or groom each other. Any negative or aggression signs end the visual contact and go back to step 2.
If you have more than one resident cat you will have to do this one cat at a time so it will take longer. Try and have the meeting in a large room so they can have space between them. Ensure there are plenty of places to hide and high places within easy reach they can retreat to if either cat feels threatened. Always be present at these meetings and start with short periods building up the time in later sessions. Never punish either cat at these meetings so they are not considered times of stress and always work at the cat’s pace. Consider having meeting times at meal times so not all the time is focused on each other. keep their bowls wide apart moving them closer at each meeting. If everything is going well and you are increasing the time together try playing with toys before the meal. This process can take a few days to weeks for cats to accept each other and there may be a few spells of hissing and spitting. Don’t get disheartened so you give up, just take a step back in the process.
Step 5 – ALLOW FREE ACCESS WITHOUT SUPERVISION FOR SHORT PERIODS
These can take place as long as there has been no aggressive type behaviour in Step 4. The free unsupervised access periods should be for short periods of time (a few minutes) to start with and as frequently as possible. Increase the unsupervised times and if friendly behaviours are seen between the new cat and resident cat like playing, grooming, rubbing against each other you can increase the times together quicker.