7 Tips for Introducing a New Cat to Another Pet
Because cats can be territorial, introducing a new cat into your home can be challenging and require a lot of patience. If you already have a dog or cat and you’re considering adding a new cat into your home, it’s important to have a plan. By carefully planning the introduction between your pets, you can help ease the transition and hopefully have good friends in the end.
Here are some tips to help introduce a new cat into your home!
- Consider your current pet’s personality
An important first step is to consider your current pet’s personality and activity level before choosing a new cat. Choosing a cat with a similar personality and activity level of your current pet can help increase your chances that the animals will get along.
- Slow and steady wins the race
When introducing a new cat into your home, it’s important that your current pet and new cat are introduced very slowly. This helps your pets get used to each other. The Humane Society of the United States points out that slow introductions help prevent fearful or aggressive behavior from developing. If you see signs of aggression forming, you may need to take these steps even slower.
- Keep your pets separated at first
When you bring your new cat home, you should isolate your new cat for several days to a week. This provides your new cat with a safe environment and gives them time to adjust to you and their new surroundings. It’s ideal if you can keep your new cat in a small room with all of their basic necessities: a litter box, food and water, toys, scratching post, and a bed.
- Have your pets share scents
Having your pets get used to each other’s scents can help them slowly recognize and form a positive association with one another. You can do this by using a towel or blanket and rubbing it all over one of the pets, and then placing the item on the floor for the other pet to explore. Giving treats can help make this an enjoyable and positive experience!
During this time, the Humane Society of the United States suggests feeding your pets on each side of the door to the new cat’s room. This helps your pets associate something positive with each other’s smells. You can gradually move their food dishes closer to the door so they can get accustomed to each other’s sounds and smells.
- Switch your pets
Now it’s time to give your new cat a chance to explore your household. To make this as least stressful as possible, your other pet should not be around when this happens. If possible, have your pets swap places. Put your current pet in your new cat’s room so that your new pet has time to explore and smell your other pet around your home.
- Slowly let your pets see each other
If things seem to be going well, you can slowly let your pets see each other. Some different ways to do this can include using a baby gate or using two doorstops to slightly prop open a dividing door. This allows your pets the opportunity to see each other without harming one another. Giving treats to your pets and playing with them during this time can help create a positive experience.
- Have your pets meet face to face
The final step is to have your pets meet face to face. These should be short interactions at first, and you can gradually increase the duration of these sessions until your pets become used to living in the same space. It’s important to continue separating your pets until they are safe living together. Providing enough toys, food and water bowls, scratching posts, and litter boxes for each pet is also essential.
If your pets show signs of fear or aggression during this time, such as hissing or growling, you should keep the pets separate and take these steps even slower.
Introducing a new pet to your household can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding! Being patient and consistent is key for a peaceful transition. Keep practicing positive reinforcement, and remember to spend time with all of your pets for the best outcome!