Introducing Another Cat into Your House

So you’ve fallen in love with a new fuzzy face and have decided to take the plunge and adopt a second (or third, or fourth!) cat. Here are some tips on how to ensure that everyone has a relatively stress-free transition over the next few weeks.

Set up a separate bedroom for the new kitty with a door that can be closed so that the other resident cat(s) cannot interact with him/her yet. This room should contain everything the new kitty needs: their own litterbox, food, water, and a bed. If your new kitty is timid, you can provide hiding places such as empty boxes. Pheromone sprays such as Feliway can help keep both cats calm and facilitate reduced stress integration. Different cats take longer to become comfortable in a new environment and with other animals. Your new kitty may need a few days before s/he is feeling relaxed enough to interact with the resident animals.

Next, you can scent swap! Once the new cat is at ease in their new home, you can use a clean sock or face cloth to rub the cheeks of each cat and then place each sock in the other cat’s territory. It allows them to smell each other without any face to face contact.

Go slowly. Next, you can allow the cats to see each other in a controlled manner, such as through an open doorway. Try to keep these interactions brief to prevent excessive stress. Keep the interactions positive and offer each cat treats during this time. If there are no signs of aggression or fear from either cat, gradually allow them to get closer to each other throughout several visits.

If all goes well, the two cats can interact freely with one another in the same room under supervision. Some cats will get along immediately while others may take months before accepting each other without fighting. By following these tips, you can increase your chance of keeping your household harmonious.

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Written by: Jasmine Johnson, RVT