Introducing A New Cat
Worried about bringing a new cat home to another cat? Our team at VIP Petcare has weighed in on the best ways to ensure your new cat’s transition is as easy and as anxiety-free as possible; allowing your ever-growing cat family to get along with one another right off the bat.
First and foremost, it’s best to adopt a new cat that has previously lived with other cat siblings, as they are more likely to get along with a new brother or sister much more quickly than if they didn’t have that social experience. When choosing a new feline friend, try to pick out personality traits that your cats at home already have. For instance, if your cat likes to play often, it’s best to choose another cat that has the same characteristic. Additionally, if your cat at home is older and lazier, it’s best to adopt another cat around the same age with the same activity style.
Eliminating Cat Conflict Before It Happens
Regardless if the new cat you have adopted has similar characteristics and personality traits to your cat at home, there is still a chance of conflict when the two strangers meet for the first time. Because cats are territorial, it’s best to provide your new cat with his or her own “territory” or room, completely outfitted with a second set of the cat accessories you already own: a new litter box, new water dish and food bowl, new scratching post, and a comfortable place to lie in the sun and snooze. In each room, make sure there are ample places for each one of your cats to hide or retreat to if they get scared. Cardboard boxes with holes cut in the sides make great fortresses, as well as large cat carriers. If one of your cats is cornered by the other, they need a place to escape to right away.
The second you bring your new cat home, take him or her straight to their designated room. Try to spend a minimum of one hour with each cat in your household per day, each in their individual territories. Play and treat regularly as you watch closely for signs of stress or anxiety, such as hiding, aggressive behavior, decreased appetite, and/or excessive vocalization. If you notice any of these signs, your cat could be suffering from deeply-seeded stress. If the signs persist for more than several days and/or if your cat stops eating, consult with your local veterinarian right away.
If your new cat shows mild signs of anxiety, give them the opportunity to properly acclimate to the new sights, smells, and living quarters. Once your new cat shows signs of comfortability, you can swap rooms with each individual cat, giving both of them the chance to pick up on one another’s scents in a non-threatening way. Additionally, you can place both of your cats on either side of a closed door or baby gate, giving them the chance to smell, hear, and/or see one another in a non-aggressive way.
Rather than moving each one of your cat’s individually to their new sibling’s room, you can utilize cat pheromones to introduce their new scents to each other. When your cat rubs his or her cheek against a wall, chair, or your leg, pheromones are produced, which are chemical substances that can help to relieve anxiety and provide information about the cat who is producing those pheromones. Exposing each cat to towels that were gently rubbed on the new cat’s cheeks may be a good way to introduce them.
Face-To-Face Cat Introductions
If you’ve noticed that both of your cats are acting relaxed and comfortable with the sight and smell of one another, you can go ahead and introduce the two outside of their individual territories. It’s best to find a large room where the two can start on opposite ends. If you have a close friend or family member to help, it makes the face-to-face introductions even easier. Each person can take one of the cats and sit down with them on either side of the space, treating and playing to promote happiness and contentment. After a few minutes, you can gradually start moving the cats closer and closer until they finally meet freely. If any cat shows signs of significant stress or agitation, separate them again and introduce them more slowly. Once your cats begin to harmonize and play in the same room, they will start to understand that they are not a serious threat to one another.
Contact VIP Petcare Today For Expert Cat & Kitten Care!
Bringing a new cat home to another cat can sometimes be a daunting task, but with patience and dedication, your new cat will become a member of your family in no time at all. Remember, if one or more of your cats are due for vaccinations or preventatives, VIP Petcare is here to help! With mobile clinics and wellness centers located all across the country, our pet care experts take pride in providing comprehensive care to both cats and dogs alike. For more information on our cat vaccinations and preventatives, don’t hesitate to find a VIP Petcare clinic near you!