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Introducing a New Cat to the Household: Some Tips for Success

 by jaime on 01 May 2014 |
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Cats are known for their independence, but that does not mean they do not enjoy companionship. If you are away from home for long stretches of time, your solo cat could get lonely and depressed. Introducing a new cat into the household can alleviate that boredom and give your cat more social interaction.


While the long-term benefits of having two cats are clear, it is not always easy to convince a resident cat to accept the newcomer. It is important to exercise caution when introducing a new kitten or adult cat to your existing pet. The following tips can help ensure the introduction is positive and that your new pet gets off to a great start.

  • Keep the cats separated at the beginning. Set up a dedicated space for your new cat and allow it to become acclimated before beginning the introduction. Give the cat a few days to get used to all the new sights, sounds and smells before introducing the resident cat.
  • Set up food dishes on each side of the isolation room door so the two cats can smell and hear one another. Feeding the cats in this manner will also help them associate those sounds and smells with a positive experience. 


  • Have the two cats switch places by placing the resident cat in the isolation room and letting the new cat explore the home. This will get the two cats used to each others' scents and give the new cat more time to become comfortable with its surroundings. 


  • Take a new towel and use it to groom both cats. Let the new cat use the towel as a bed for a day or two, then let the resident cat use it in the same way. This will help the cats get used to each others' smells. 


  • Play with each of your cats near the door of the isolation room. Cuddle both cats and let them play with their favorite toys. This will help build positive associations in both animals. 


  • Use a see-through barrier if you can so the cats can see one another but not touch. A baby gate works well for this purpose. Be ready at the barrier and make sure neither cat can jump over it. 


  • Leave the food dishes in their existing positions, as close to the barrier door as possible. Allow the cats to eat and watch one another. If one or both cats seems uncomfortable and is hesitant to eat, move the food dish a bit further away. Continue this process until both cats are comfortable eating and watching one another. 


  • Open the barrier and allow the cats to interact with one another in a supervised area. Be prepared to intervene if things get violent, but give the cats space to feel each other out and get used to one another. 


These tips should help your new cat get off to a good start. Before you know it, the newcomer and the resident cat will be cuddling together, playing together and entertaining one another while you are away.



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