Introducing a new feline into your kitty’s life can be tricky. Cats are very territorial animals, especially towards other furry friends. It’s even worse if your cat has never socialized with other cats during their socialization period, often between 2-7 weeks of age.
Introducing two cats with different personalities may be very difficult. However, always remember it’s never a good idea to throw your pet cat with another new one into a room together on day one.
Introducing cats to other furry friends is a gradual process. Depending on some factors like the type of breed, socialization history, energy level, past interactions, and differences in sizes, it may take weeks or months before some cats start feeling comfortable around each other. It’s not surprising to find out that some pairs may never exist together in harmony.
Here are some steps that will help you establish a lifetime friendship between your cat and other furry friends. Take a break whenever your cat displays any signs of stress or discomfort.
Before you take your new cat home, create a separate kitten space away from the resident’s cat’s favorite place. Include a water bowl, food bowl, litter box, and several toys to keep your new kitty occupied when you are not around. Keep the door closed to avoid accidental encounters with the other cat.
Give your cat a day or two to get acquainted with their new space before proceeding to the next step. During this time, you can use a Feliway Diffuser to help your furry friend deal with tension and prevent any unpleasant behaviors that may arise. It produces cat facial pheromones that are pacifying to cats.
Your cats are more likely to pick each other’s scents on you. Allow them to sniff your hands and clothes so that they can familiarize themselves with each other’s scent. Rub one of the cats with a blanket or a towel and place it at the door for the other one to explore. Do the same for both cats.
Sprinkle your cat’s favorite treats or toys on the blanket to draw your cat’s attention. Try Vitakraft Cat Yums or Catnips Tubs to enhance a strong positive association between the cats. Cats often find these treats irresistible. You can place the towel or blanket near your cat’s food bowl as well. Repeat this blanket game daily.
Allow your cats to explore each other’s spaces. Don’t encourage any physical contact at this stage. Ensure that the two cats are separated through a closed door. Let the cats explore the other cat’s territory for a few hours or even a day.
Swap your cat’s food bowls. Your cats will start associating the positive act of eating with the other cat’s smell. Make sure they are already tolerant of each other’s scent before proceeding to the next step. Cats feel safe when surrounded by a scent they are familiar with.
Let the cats sniff each other under the door. Ensure there is a physical barrier between them that allows the cats to only see each other. Use treats or toys to ensure a positive association between them. Try using Kong Connects Danglers to enhance interaction. Hang the Danglers on the door to expose the long, fluttering feathers to lure your cats into an interactive play.
Listen for any unhappy vocalizations like hissing and growling. Repeat the previous steps if any of your cats show these signs of stress. You can proceed to the next step if both cats start to play through the door, sniff the noses, or rub against the door.
Allow the cats to meet physically if they were able to associate peacefully through non-physical contact. Begin with short interactions then gradually lengthen each session of physical contact. Interrupt them by clapping every time they fight.
Check for any signs that they are feeling safe between each other. You will notice that the tip of your cat’s tail may be crooked forward or may exhibit soft eye contact if she is comfortable with another cat’s presence.
If one of your cats rolls over to show the other her belly, then this would be the best time to offer them a toy to play with since cats love to bat around, rub-on, or pounce on objects. This would even be more interesting now that they are two.
After about a week without showing signs of aggression or fear, you can now try letting the cats spend time together in your absence for short periods. Use a pet camera to monitor how they behave with each other when you are not around. Lengthen the amount of time they can spend alone if they appear to be getting along. Finally, they’ll feel comfortable together 24/7.
Don’t force either of the cats if they show aggression and don’t leave them alone if they are not comfortable with each other. Watch for bullying, sometimes one cat may not allow the other to have access to the food bowl or let him through a particular door.
You can ensure that each cat has their separate litter box, bed, and food bowl if one of them is being bullied. Go back to some of the few steps if you notice signs of aggression again days after the successful completion of the introduction.
Any abnormal behavior from one of your cats should prompt a visit to a veterinarian. Contact your vet in case you notice the following signs: