So you’re thinking about getting another cat, but you know that cats are infamously territorial. You’ve heard that it can be hard to introduce a new one to the family if you already have a cat that’s lived with you for awhile. But we’re here to tell you that if you follow these basic tips, you can easily bring a new cat home that your existing cat will be able to get along with.
When picking your new cat, keep in mind:
Age- it tends to be easier to introduce a kitten than an adult cat as their body language is less threatening and they are less competitive. But if you really want to adopt an older cat, which is great because they are less likely to get adopted than kittens, don’t let that idea get in your way!
Personality- if your cat at home is shy, they might feel threatened if you bring home a more active and outgoing cat. Try and find a new cat with a personality that is compatible with the personality of the cat you have at home.
How to plan the first meeting:
Make sure you have enough time at home; it’s not such a great idea to bring your new cat home then leave for work or elsewhere. Try getting your new cat over the weekend or holiday.
It is a good idea to buy new bowls and toys for your new cat, that way they can still do their own thing and the existing cat does not feel like everything of theirs is being corrupted.
Bringing the cat home:
When you first bring your new cat home, keep him/her in a large crate or separate room with food, water, litter box and toys. It will introduce the new cat to your older one without immediately invading their territory. Even when you open the door to the crate/room after some time (there is no set amount of time, just what you feel is best for your pets) keep the crate there for a few days so the new cat still has a safe space to turn to.
Before the cats actually physically interact, try and get them used to each other’s smell. Pet the new cat with a sock then rub that sock in different places in the house. It might sound strange to do but it’s important to ease both cats into living with one another.
During this introduction period it is very important to make sure you are giving both of your cats attention!! If you pay attention only to your new one, your older cat might feel like they are being replaced.
Finally, let them meet face to face. Don’t be discouraged if they hiss or ignore each other; they’re both facing big changes in their lives and it’ll take some time to get used to. If you put their bowls and toys near each other, they should slowly become more comfortable with one another. Just watch them every so often and make sure they are not harassing each other.
Having more than one cat in your household is very rewarding for both you and your cats. And if you follow these introductory steps, the transition should go very smoothly.
By Elana Frank