Deciding to adopt a new cat is very exciting! There’s nothing like bringing a brand new fuzzy bundle of love into your home; however, introducing cats to cats can be stressful for you and your kitties. So, before you drop your adoptee into the middle of your home, we have a few ways to make the introduction less stressful for all cats involved and increase your chances for a successful adoption and happy home.
Starting even before bringing your adoptee home from the shelter, trading scents can be an excellent way to introduce cats to other cats. Once you’ve chosen the cat you want, ask the current caretakers for a blanket the new kitty has slept on for your cat at home and offer one in return. Sometimes, this isn’t possible, and that’s okay. While this is a great measure, you can still have a successful introduction if you can’t do this.
Prepare a Room for the New Kitty
This step should be standard for all new cat introductions. Before your new cat comes home, you should set up a separate room for them. We recommend that the room is quiet with a closeable door with enough space for all of their necessities, like water and food bowls, a litter box, toys, and a comfortable bed. Ideally, everyone in your home should be able to access this space for playtime and feeding time.
Feed Your Cats on Opposite Sides of the Door
Feeding your cats separately, but together, on opposite sides of the door can help them form positive associations. Sometimes kitties will refuse to eat their meals at first, but you can place extra yummy snacks to get a similar effect. Pay attention to any growling or hissing—if that happens, keep trying this for a few days, and do not put them together just yet. Any longer than a week means the adoption may not work.
Trade Scents Around Your Home
If the third step is working, you can swap your kitties’ places, meaning that your adoptee can explore the rest of the house while your resident cat can explore the separated room. Please keep the door closed at this point and keep feeding them on opposite sides of the door. If you notice any signs of stress, you can swap the kitties back and forth for a few days at a time.
Let Them Look
As long as everyone is acting normally, you’re ready to let them see each other! You can open the door and use some kind of gate to keep them separated, but they can still interact. Ensure the gate is tall enough to prevent them from jumping over—you can even stack two on top of each other! Continue steps three and four as well.
If all is going well so far, that’s amazing! The last step is to let them meet each other without the gate. Be prepared for some hissing and swatting, but be on the lookout for any actual fighting with injury- if they fight, then the match probably won’t work out. We recommend keeping them separated while you’re not around for a while until you’re confident in their behavior while you’re gone. Keep in mind that introducing cats to cats depends on their temperaments. Sometimes even when you’ve tried everything and worked through all of the steps, your adoptee may not be the right fit for your home.
Here at Mount Carmel Animal Hospital, We’ll Treat Your Pets Like Family!
Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has been serving the Northern Baltimore/Southern York community for over 30 years and is proud to be an independently operated, small animal practice committed to excellence in veterinary medicine and client service. From grooming to wellness services, along with Canine Life Skills Training Courses, and surgical procedures, we have the expertise that will best serve the needs of you and your pet. Contact us at 410-343-0200 and follow us on Facebook!