*This is a collaborative guest post
I have 2 cats, but they’re brother and sister and we got them together. I’ve always had cats, and at various times we’ve introduced a new furry friend to them with varying degrees of success! Here are some tips and ideas, reminders and more for introducing a second cat to the home for a smooth transition.
Cats like company, not just their human’s, but also that of other cats, so you may have considered getting your cat a companion. There is only one problem with that – cats are also very territorial.
The most important thing to know is that cats never share three items: their carrier, their litter box and their scratching tree.
Choose cats of similar age and similar disposition. Some recommend staying with the same sex. But if you decide to have both a male and female cat, make sure that they are neutered, so that you will not have soon the home full of unplanned kittens.
Introducing a new cat into the household is stressful for both cats. First, make both cats feel secure. Set one room up as a safe place for the new cat, where the other cat will not be allowed to enter. The first cat will also not feel like all her/his territory has been invaded. This room must have a litter for the new cat, some toys, its food and water bowl and places to hide. The carrier with its door open can be a place of comfort until it feels safe to investigate the new room.
You can use the feeding time to start the cat introduction. Place their bowls on each side of the closed door. This enables the cats to hear each other.
The next step is to touch the head of the new cat with a clean sock and drop the sock in the original’s cat territory, so that it can smell it out. The same should be done with another sock and the face of the original cat, and leaving that sock in the second cat’s safe room. Cats strike their faces on surfaces they like (e.g. your leg). As such, the facial pheromones are friendly in character and won’t upset the other cat.
Once they have smelled each other via the socks, the next step is to keep the original cat in one room, but not the safe room of the new cat, and let the second cat sniff out the rest of the home minus the room where now the first cat is.
In a later stage, the cats can be let into the respective other cat’s safe rooms to check them out, but only if you see that the cats are curious and willing to go into each other’s territories. Once they had smells of each other and have both left their smells all over the house, the door of the safe room can be opened a little during feeding for them to check each other out by sight.
Depending on the cat’s personality, they will approach each other right away to make an acquaintance, or they may just stand there in the open door staring at each other. Leave them time, close the door if you feel one of the cats needs its space and then try again. Eventually they will sort it out and approach each other, do their separate thing or play with each other, or even sleep next to each other.
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