Sunday, February 21, 2010

How to Introduce Cats to One Another: Some Tips To Make It Easier

I just have one cat but we love him so much, we'd like to open our home up to another cat as well.  I wasn't sure if it would be a good idea so I did a bit of research to get some tips on how to introduce cats.  Thought I would share this with you too in case you are considering a second cat in your home.

When you decide to add a new cat to your family, it’s normally more exiting for you than it is for the cat you already own.  Although most cats are solitary by nature, many will also come to accept or eventually tolerate any additions.  Cats can be very territorial, so you need to remember this and always be careful when you introduce a new cat to your current cat.

If you are introducing cats to one another, the entire introduction process can last as little as 10 – 15 days.  Introducing cats to each other all depends on their temperament and their personality.  When you introduce a new cat to your current cat, you should always make sure that you give your current cat plenty of love and attention so they do not feel abandoned.  This way, your current cat will feel secure and know that he isn’t in competition with your new cat for affection, which is very important.

When you bring your new cat home, you should let him stay in a safe room until you have finished introducing the cats.  Your safe room can be any small room in your home, such as a bathroom or spare bedroom, so they have a place to go.   The key here is to use a room that your current cat doesn’t go in at all.  In the room, you should leave your new cat a scratching post, bed, water dish, litter box, and food dish (and anything else they like).

At first, your current cat may howl and hiss when he stands at the door, trying to tell the other cat that he doesn’t belong, but do not be alarmed because this is normal for cats.  When this happens you should ignore it, as punishing your cat for his behavior will only lead to more problems.  After a while, the first cat will start to act calm when he is near the new cat’s door.  As he starts to act calm, you should pet him and give him praise in order to train him well.

When your first cat starts to go by your new cat’s door and doesn’t howl or hiss; you can start introducing them to each other because this indicates they are ready to interact.  The best way to do this is to get them used to each others scent.  You can start letting them eat out of the same food dish, although you’ll want to feed them at different intervals at first.  This way, the scent of each cat will be present at the food dish, and each cat will get the scent when he eats his food.

Once both cats have got used to the scent, you can begin to feed them closer together.  To do this, you should keep your new cat in the safe room with the door closed, and your first cat on the other side of the door with his food dish.  This time, feed both cats at the same time.  After doing this a few times, they should start eating without any hissing or growling at each other.  At this point, they are ready to be introduced to one another.

When you introduce them to each other in the same room, a bit of growling and hissing is to be expected so do not worry.  Although they may be used to each others scent; your first cat will still feel a bit awkward with your new cat being in his territory.  You should play with them both at first, so they can smell one another and greet in their own way without aggression. If they start to fight you should break them up, and give them some time apart until they are ready to try agai.

Be patient because it may take some time to get them fully used to one another in the house, although once they do – they will become playmates for life, which is good news.  Cats love to be social, although it may be a bit rough at first, especially for your first cat, they will get along with time and patience.  Cats can be very territorial, especially if you have a kitten around.  If you get both of them used to each other early on – it will be a lot easier to add future cats to your home.


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