Some Thoughts Before Introducing Cats
There is usually lots of excitement when bringing a new cat into your home. This may be loads of fun for us however, your current kitty won’t see it that way. Cats are very independent and generally are more than happy without other feline company. As cats are very territorial you should be aware that this can cause some current-kitty angst. Just remember to show your current cat lots of love and affection.
Age plays a large role in how smooth this process can be. It is generally much easier if you are introducing two kittens rather than trying to introduce two seasoned old moggies to one another. Introducing kittens is a fairly short and painless process and can take as little as a fortnight. Other factors such as sex, temperament and whether your cats are neutered or not will all effect the length of time it will take to get them settled down.
If you really feel up to a challenge try introducing entire (not neutered) tom cats to one another – rather you than me! Be sensible in your choice of new cat, have a long hard think about your current cat’s circumstance. Is it really the right choice to try to introduce two sexually active tom cats?
Chances are Fur will fly.
Actually Introducing Cats
Okay, so enough of the common sense stuff, you have your new cat in hand (or carry case) what next?
You should set a side a room in your house/flat/bedsit/cave where your new kitty can feel safe, make it their ‘safe haven’ with bed, scratching post and other cat paraphernalia. The key here is making it a room where your other cat doesn’t really spend much time. Once allocated, plonk your new kitty in their room and let them get acquainted with their surroundings, make sure to shut the door to keep old kitty at bay. If kitty one hasn’t noticed yet then great, keep it that way until kitty two is happily settled in.
If on the other hand they are ‘all up in your grill’* the second you get home and are now making a fuss hissing and spitting then just let it happen for now it’s not going to hurt anyone. Once you have both your cats either side of a door then there will probably be a bit of cat swearing but it will slowly decrease as they get used to one another. Once your old cat can go past the door without any histrionics then show them some love and give them some praise.
At this stage you are ready to start introducing them, the best way to start off is by introducing them to each other’s smell. If you begin to feed them separately but from the same bowl their scents will transfer. Once they are accustomed to this you can then begin to feed them at the same time but with the door between them. You can slowly move the bowls closer to the door each time you feed them. Once they can eat together without any goings-on they are ready to meet face to face.
Not With The Hose!
When you introduce them properly expect hissing and growling. Make sure there are plenty of places for your cats to escape from one another as they will attempt to mark their dominance and become the alpha cat of the bunch**. Just be sure to play with them both and let them get used to each other in their own way. If any violence breaks out then split them up and give them a time out. Rinse and repeat until there is one victor, err… no not with the hose. What I meant was that this process should be repeated until they work it out. This may take some time but they will eventually get used to each other. Don’t expect them to always get on there will be some days where WW3 sounds like it’s breaking out just separate them and things should be all good. Once they are both settled they will be buddies for life.
*See I’m still down with the kids – grill = face**The collective for a group of cats is clowder! It just didn’t seem to fit in that sentence.