How to Introduce Your Cat to a New Feline Family Member
One of the toughest things you can experience with your cat is introducing a new cat into the household. Cats are territorial creatures by nature, and will not initially welcome the addition of a new family cat. Even if the two cats eventually become great friends, expect their initial interactions to be contentious and even violent. However, you can mitigate some of this by taking the correct steps in making the introductions. With a little patience and planning, you can make the new addition feel at home while keeping your original cat feeling as non-threatened as possible.
First of all, remember that the initial introductions are going to be as hard on your new cat as they are on your existing cat. After all, the new cat is coming into another cat’s already established territory, and has to make a place for himself there. Even female cats are territorial in this way. It is just cat nature.
The best thing to do is to keep the new cat and existing cat separated from each other for the first few days of the new kitty’s arrival. You can do this by keeping the new cat in a room to himself. This will give both cats the opportunity to smell each other without actually confronting each other. They will be able to smell each other under the door of the room the new cat is in. While there may be some growling and sticking of paws under the door to see what’s there, the door itself will keep there from being any violence.
After a few days of this, put a blanket or towel in the room with the new cat and let him roll on it to get his scent on it. Do the same with your other cat. Then, give each cat the other cat’s towel, so they can continue to sniff and get used to the scent of another cat in the house. This will make them more familiar to each other when they finally meet face to face.
After about a week, bring the new cat out and hold him down to the existing cat, allowing them to see and smell each other in person. Don’t put the new cat down on the floor just yet. Let the cats sniff each other until hostilities develop (which is likely), then take the new cat away again. Bring the new cat out several times throughout the day to repeat this process, so your existing cat can become used to seeing the new cat. Don’t let them play together until they can be held in front of each other for more than a few minutes without hostilities developing.
Once you think they’re both ready, you can bring the new cat out of his room permanently and set up a litter box and food and water dish for him in the main part of the house, allowing him to fully join the family. The existing cat will not like this at first, but will be used to the scent and sight of the other cat, so will probably grudgingly accept the other cat’s presence until the other cat gets in the existing cat’s way. You can expect there to be some initial fighting between the two until they work out their respective places in the household hierarchy. It’s best to let them work it out on their own unless it becomes too violent and looks like one of the cats might get hurt, in which case you should separate them until they’ve calmed down, then put them both back out in the house together.
It may take some time, but eventually, your two cats will learn to get along. They may become the best of friends or just tolerate each other, but by introducing them to each other slowly, you can ensure there will be feline peace in your house.