Introducing a new cat to your existing cat
27th August 2014
By nature, cats are solitary animals and do not tolerate the presence of other cats in their territory. However, by introducing a new cat to the resident cat carefully and slowly, then they may tolerate one another’s presence or even become friends.
Follow our tips below to ensure that the introductions go as smoothly as possible.
Neuter your cats
Neutering your cats will not only protect them from certain diseases and stop unwanted pregnancies, but it will also limit aggressive behaviour and reduce instances of fighting.
Keep the cats apart initially
When you bring the new cat home, confine him to one room in the house initially. This is so that the new cat can get used to his new environment and so that the resident cat can be introduced to the new member of the family gradually. Make sure the new cat has a bed, a litter tray, a scratching post and plenty of toys to make him feel at home.
Introduce the new cat’s scent
Before the new cat meets your other cat face to face, introduce the new cat’s scent around the house. Rub a cloth against the new cat’s face and distribute the scent as widely as possible. Do the same with your resident cat and introduce the scent to the room that the new cat has temporarily been confined to.
Use a pet pen
When you first put your cats in the same room together, consider using a pet pen to segregate them. Put the new cat in the pen so that the resident cat doesn’t feel trapped. The pen allows the cats to investigate each other without making contact.
Face to face interaction
When you are introducing your cats to each other in the open for the first time, do so at mealtimes so that the food provides them with a distraction. Cats generally do not like to eat together, so place their bowls at opposite ends of the room. Choose a large room with lots of hiding places and high perches for them to escape to if they feel threatened.
Monitor your cats’ behaviour when they are together. They may scrap a little but if they fight too much prepare to intervene. Depending on how your cats are getting on, you may need to give them short periods of face-to-face interaction and then gradually increase the amount of time they spend together, before allowing unimpeded access to one another.
To ensure your cats are living happily together, you might like to take a look at our tips on providing adequate resources in your multi-cat household. If the resources are plentiful, then there is no reason why your cats can’t live together amicably.