• September 8th, 2020
    Written by: Kimberly

    Bringing a new cat home can be exciting and a bit stressful, both for you and your new pet. If you already have a cat at home, this is especially true, as not all cats want another feline to invade their space. To make sure both pets live together harmoniously proper steps should be taken to introduce the new cat.

    Patience is key when introducing cats as it can sometimes take weeks. By paying attention to both cats’ moods and letting the cats control the progress, you will have both cats coexisting before long.

    Bringing Your New Cat Home

    Before your new cat comes home, make sure both pets have their own space each with a bed, food bowls, and a litterbox. The new cat’s space should have a door so the cats are not able to see each other at first.

    Bring the new cat to her designated space without letting the two cats see each other and give the new cat a chance to explore. If you carried her in with a carrier, let her come out when she’s ready.

    Trade Your Cats’ Scents

    When your new cat has gotten settled into her space, it’s time to let each cat get familiar with the other’s scent. There are a few ways to do this:

    • Trade Belongings - Bring one cat’s blanket into the other cat’s space. You can start by simply leaving the blanket near the cat and then slowly moving it closer.
    • Switch Food Bowls - If you give your resident cat the new cat’s food bowl, and vice versa, the resident cat will positively associate the new cat’s smell with eating.
    • Let Each Cat Explore - Still keeping your cats separate, let each one explore the other’s space. Move your new cat to a separate room, then let the resident cat explore. Then switch.

    When the cats are interacting with each other’s scent without hissing, swatting, or showing other signs of aggression, it’s time to let them see each other.

    Make Visual Contact

    Let the cats see each other without directly interacting using a baby gate, screen, or cracked door. Some of the following can help:

    • Provide cat treats when they see each other
    • Play with them near the barrier
    • Slowly move food bowls closer to the screen or door

    When the cats sniff each other or rub against the barrier, they are ready to meet in person.

    Let Your Cats Meet

    Finally, remove the barrier and let both cats into the same room. If the cats show signs of aggression, end the meeting. Other tips include:

    • Limit meeting time in the beginning and lengthen it a bit at each later meeting.
    • Engage cats in play so that they are distracted from behaving aggressively.
    • Let the cats pace the interaction on their own team, even if they choose not to go near each other.

    With these steps, your new cat will feel comfortable in their new home and your resident cat will learn to accept them. They might even become friends.