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Tips for Introducing a New Cat to Another Cat

Introducing a New Cat to Another CatAre you looking for effective tips for introducing a new cat to another cat?

Bringing a new cat or kitten into the home is a big decision. It is vital to understand how to introduce your new cat when there are other pets in the home. Everyone has a different experience, so be prepared for a challenge (although we certainly hope there won’t be one!).

Keep reading to learn about all the skills and tips you need to successfully introduce a new loved one to other pawed pets in your home!

Do you have personal experiences you want to share about introducing your own cats? Go to the Cat Training blog and comment with your own stories!

Prep Your Home & Family for the New Arrival

Whether you have already made the decision to bring home a new cat or not, it is important to make sure that your home and family are up to the challenge! Develop a game plan using the tips you’re about to learn, and share them with everyone in your house.

The first thing you need to remember is to be patient. Arriving in a new home is a different experience for every cat, so be prepared for any possible reaction. Don’t expect your new cat to get along with your existing cat(s) right away, and vice versa. Slow introductions will be the most successful.

When choosing a new cat, try to match the personality and activity levels with your existing cat. Other factors influencing compatibility include sex, size, and experiences. It is best if they are around the same age and have similar activity levels. A veteran cat that loves to lounge may not respond well to a high-energy kitten.

Health and safety are very important for pets. Make sure both new and existing cats (and any dogs) are up to date on ALL shots and free of fleas. A quick trip to the vet is all you need

Your final step of preparation is creating an isolation room in your home. This will be your new cat’s domain for the first few weeks after arrival. Choose a room that is least likely to disturb your existing cats daily habits.

Separation is the Key to Success!

The reason for your isolation room is to keep all pets separated from your new cat upon arrival. This is a stressful and nerve-wracking time for all pets in the home, and maybe even the people.

Separation is vital when introducing a new cat to another cat because it allows them both to get acquainted with change over time. This means you will need a separate food bowl, water bowl and litter box to use in the isolation room.

If you are taking in a stray, schedule a vet appointment immediately. While safe for humans, stray cats can carry bacteria and diseases that are dangerous (and potentially fatal) for your existing pets. You may need to keep your stray separated for a few months while waiting for lab results.

Once your new cat is eating and littering regularly in their isolated room, you can begin to acquaint them with the rest of the home. Isolate all of your existing pets to one area, and then allow your new cat to explore the house for a while! They will definitely be curious, so make sure you supervise these sessions.

One important tip to keep in mind: don’t ignore or neglect your existing cats! They all need love and affection, and ignoring your cats could lead to jealousy and negative behavioral issues.

Slow & Steady Introductions

Remember: Patience!

Introducing your new cat to existing pets should not be forceful or aggressive. Give them time and space, and let all pets become familiar at their own pace. Here are some tricks to use when your pets are ready for physical introductions:

  1. Crack the Door: From your new cat’s isolation room, crack the door just wide enough for clear vision. Make sure neither cat can slip through the space, and secure the door with a doorstop. Your cats will be able to see each other, sniff, and possibly throw a little hissing around. But this allows all pets to meet without the risk of a catfight.
  2. Stack Baby Gates: In a doorway, stack two baby gates high enough to prevent any cat from jumping over. Now your cats can completely see one another and sniff away.
  3. Room Swap: As mentioned before, let your new cat out in the home with other pets isolated. To get existing pets acquainted with your new cats smell, bring a blanket or cat bed out of the isolation room. Allow your pets to smell, lie on, or play with the item you chose.

Don’t force any of these steps. Allow your furry friends to move at their own speed. This could take days, weeks, or even months. But these slow integrations keep your cats as comfortable as possible during the introduction phase.

Final Reminder—

Your new cat and existing cat may not become best pals right away, but give it time. It can take up to 8-12 months for cats to become very friendly with one another.

Watch out for red flags along the way, and always remember to protect yourself! Never break up a catfight with your hands. This is extremely dangerous, so make a loud noise or use a squirt bottle if you find your felines entangled.

Also, check for signs of distress with any pets in the home. Eating, drinking, sleeping or grooming in excess can all be signs that your cat is stressed.

Introducing a new kitten or cat to other cats can be quite the experience. With these tips and some patience, you are sure to successfully integrate your new cat into the home!

Check out the Cat Training blog to comment and share your own experiences of bringing home a new cat, taking in a stray, or the successes or mistakes that followed.

 

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