How to Bring a New Cat Into Your Home
Are you considering adding a new meowy ball of fur to your household? Owning more than one cat can be fun, and at the same time frustrating if they don’t get along. Cats are territorial by nature and do not naturally form bonds with all other cats. More than half of all new cat introductions can result lasting aggression. A proper introduction between the new cat and the cat already living in the house could save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
CREATING A SAFE ZONE
Create a temporary space for the new kitty all of her own in a bedroom or bathroom away from your other animals. This will give it a chance to get used to its new environment and calm its nerves a bit. Provide kitty with water, litter, food and toys or places or it to climb and play. Cats love to entertain themselves when they are alone, so providing it an environment to do so early on is beneficial. Calming pheromones may also help ease the cat’s transition to her new home. Try keeping the cat there for about two weeks, it may need more or less time but you will have to judge according to your own cats personality.
GRADUALLY INTRODUCE YOUR CATS
The next step is to set up a gradual introduction between the two felines. Before they see each other, wipe one cat with a towel, then take the towel to the other cat to allow them to sniff each others scents and gain that feel of familiarity. Repeat the process until both cats seem unaffected by the scent of the towel.
Next would be a good idea to let them see each other through a barrier such as a baby gate or screen door. This increases the changes of the introduction going smoothly. Next give each cat a dish of their favorite food, making sure to place the dishes far enough away from each other to notice the other cat is near but not feel threatened to eat the food. We want these interactions to be pleasant to set the mood for the actual introduction. Move the bowls closer together so the continue to eat with no hissing but still on opposite sides of the gates.
As petsafe.com states, there are several options for the next step in the introduction. You can allow the cats to sniff without food, repeat the food bowl introduction without the barrier, or encourage them to play together with a feather toy wand. Many, but not all cats, continue to tolerate or even become friendly with each other after a controlled, reward-filled introduction.
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