Are you trying to add another feline companion to your household?
Besides needing a few extra litter boxes, you’re going to have to gradually introduce your new pet to your existing furry family members.
You might think bringing home a new cat won’t cause your long-time resident to experience a nervous breakdown because of his laid-back nature, but you have no idea what you are getting yourself into.
If you thought dogs were territorial animals, wait until you see your sweet kitty transforming into a feral beast and going nuts when she spots a threat to her regular food source.
Luckily, there is a safe way to introduce cats to each other, but certain safety precautions have to be taken or else your living room might turn into a real war zone.
Here are the steps you can follow to safely introduce your cat to his new roommate:
1. Always be in control of the situation
Some ground rules need to be established before you decide to add a new cat to your home. These rules can be different depending on whether you are bringing a kitten or an adult cat, but the basic principles are the same.
The one thing you need to understand is that cats are generally loners and enjoy their solitude.
While sometimes they can form groups, they tend to keep their space to themselves.
Even in the wild, while canine species lean towards packs, cats track down and hunt their prey alone.
That being said, cats can live in colonies and establish a certain hierarchy. Speaking of hierarchy, remember that you need to stay on top of things and control the relationship between your pets.
If you’re bringing home a kitten, your adult cat might not see it as a threat right away.
This is because kittens are not mature yet and do not exhibit a territorial behaviour. However, kittens tend to be hyperactive, and will quickly drain the patience of your older pet. Also, cats are not as sympathetic as humans are and there is no “look how cute it is” moment.
If you’ve adopted an adult stray cat, your existing pet might see it as an intruder from the get-go.
It is crucial that you see to that the first contact they establish goes as smooth as possible.
2. Before I see you, I need to smell you
First things first, when your new adult cat or kitten arrives, you will want to section out a part of your house that will be his or her sanctuary.
Your resident cat will still be able to go about his business and walk freely, besides that one room you picked which will be off-limits.
Cats communicate in various ways, scent being one of them.
By visually separating them, you are preventing direct contact and avoiding a potential disaster, but at the same time, you’re introducing them by letting them smell each other.
Use toys, blankets and similar items that are heavily covered by the scent of your resident cat and give them to your new cat to explore.
Likewise, allow your existing pet to enter the room newly occupied room while you safely relocate your new cat.
Sharing is caring and your cats need to learn that but at very slow pace.
3. Find common ground
While you can experiment with physical barriers like doors, gates or large pieces of cardboard, visually introducing your two cats is another story entirely.
For some cats eating time could be the perfect moment because both of them will be distracted by a huge bowl of juicy tasty food and they won’t acknowledge each other as much.
This will only work if you make sure to put their bowls on opposite sides of the room so that they both have more than enough space.
Even then, this method might not work for your cats because of their personalities.
Animals can often feel vulnerable when they are eating and if one of your cats feels this way, it might react negatively.
If that natural instinct kicks in, you might be in for a cat brawl.
If you get away with only a hiss here or there, you can consider that great progress. Another way to find common ground is during playtime.
Take a few toys, some treats and establish a relaxing and fun atmosphere in your living room.
Closely monitor the behaviour of your furry companions and be ready to intervene if needed.
With a little luck, that one toy might be enough for them to set aside their differences.
You never know they might even become new best friends and at least co-exist in the same household.
Top Tip: Jonas Jurgella’s Cat Language Bible features an in-depth section on how to introduce cats to each other, well worth a read!
Getting Another Cat Is Worth The Trouble, Just Make Sure You Introduce Them Correctly
Cats are mysterious and peculiar animals and that’s why we love them. While for some owning a single pet is plenty, others just can’t get enough of them.
There is never a bore with these animals and even when they are up to their shenanigans, they somehow manage to make get away with them and make us laugh.
If you’re looking to enrich your life with another one of these affectionate pets, remember to take it slow and avoid rushing things.
The steps we covered will guarantee you success in most cases, but sometimes things just don’t work out.
In that case, you’re going to have to introduce more positive reinforcement and at least make your two felines to co-exist with each other.