Introducing A New Cat To My Cats Guide

May 3, 2017 | 1,381 comments

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.
Introducing cats
Cats function happily on their own and unless cats are siblings or been together since kittens they tend not to like having other cats in their territory. But the good news is, if there is no competition for food or sleeping places, cats will usually learn to tolerate each other and can become good friends.
The Plan
Step 1 – Setting up the cat-safe room
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 2 – Get them use to each others scent
You can do this by stroking your adopted cat with a clean cloth then rub the cloth in areas your resident cat likes to go and place the cloth near or under their feeding bowls. Do the same with you resident cats scent in the safe room. If after sniffing the other cat’s scent either cat shows signs of avoiding the scent this process will need to continue for longer. Should they show signs of accepting the scent try swapping bedding and for a short time allowing your resident cat to explore the cat-safe environment and your new cat to explore another room your resident cat use. At this point, it is generally best the cats do not see each other or at most visual only, not face to face.Content text
Step 3 – Visual contact
introducing a new cat, not happy hissing cat

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.

Step 4 – Supervised Physical Contact

introducing a new cat, laying together nicelyIf 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.

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.introducing a new cat, cats love each other, success.
Finally, it is important to note that in some cases the addition of a particular cat to a household with existing cats proves to be too challenging/stressful for the owner, for the resident cats and/or for the new cat. Rehoming of the incompatible cat may then need to be considered. However, by taking these simple steps you can often dramatically reduce this possibility and improve the quality of life for the cats living in your cat household.