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Read About Adopting a New Cat

Introducing a new cat

After much thought and consideration you have decided that you want to adopt a new cat. You have enough time in your schedule to dedicate attention to all your animals. You have the finances available to ensure that each animal is properly fed, has toys to play with, and receives the preventative and crucial veterinary care needed. You have researched the types of animals that get along and feel now is the time. The only thing left to do is figure out how to introduce your new pets to each other.

Here are a few tips to assist you and your cats in making the transition.

  1. Take your time introducing each of them. Start by keeping the new pet in a room of its own with its own necessities -- litter box, food and water. This will help the new cat feel comfortable and safe.
  2. Feed each cat at the same time on opposite sides of the dividing door. This will enforce an association between eating, which is a pleasurable activity for your cat, and the smell of the other cat -- creating a positive connection between your pets.
  3. Share belongings between the pets. While you have your cats separated, take toys and blankets that each have used and swap them. Give a couple of your resident cat toys to your new addition and vice versa. This gives each cat the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the smells of the other.
  4. For a short time each day, let the new cat wander around the house with the resident cat shut in a different room. If possible, place the resident cat in the room that the new cat has been residing in while the new cat roams around the house. This gives each of them an additional opportunity to get used to each other´s smells.
  5. If you have a cat carrier, you can place the new pet in the carrier and place him/her in a room that is frequented by the other pets. This gives each of them the opportunity to see and smell each other, while keeping them safely separated.
  6. It has been a couple of weeks and you are ready for your pets to actually meet without barriers. Take it slow and make sure your pets are closely supervised. In the beginning, 15 or 20 minutes should be enough time for the cats to share space together. As you monitor their behavior, increase the time they spend together accordingly until they have become accustomed to each other´s presence.

Take it slow and be patient. Hissing, growling, and hiding behavior is not uncommon from either pet when someone new is being introduced to the household. Taking the time to gradually bring in your new pet will drastically reduce the stress on everyone involved. The relationship that can develop after a proper introduction period will lend itself to a more enjoyable experience by all.