Introducing Cats to Cats
Cat to cat introductions
When thinking about getting another cat in a household that already has a resident cat take some time to consider what your existing cat will think about a new arrival.
It is important to remember that cats are solitary animals and do not need the company of other cats to feel happy in their home. Even after the loss of a feline companion an existing cat may still protest to another cat entering the household. That being said some cats will enjoy living with others and some even form close relationships of grooming each other and sleeping together.
When deciding to get a new cat in the household ensure you have enough space and areas for separate resources in case the cats wish not to eat, drink and sleep in the same environment. It is also important to have a separate area in which to start the cat off in its new home. This space should not take away from your existing cat and be large enough for the cat to spend a week (or longer if necessary) in.
Introducing cats to new animals in the home is not a quick process and some cats can take months before settled with other pets. It is essential that the process is done slowly and persistently to avoid negative interactions which could result in the cats never settling.
First things first, scent swapping. Often this stage is rushed through but for animals that rely enormously on scent this is the most important stage of their introduction. This part of the process can even be started before the cat is taken home by bringing in a piece of bedding or cloth to leave with your new cat in the centre before taking them home.
Scent swapping between the two cats should continue until both cats simply sniff and walk away from the new scent, any negative reactions are a clear sign this part of the process needs to continue for longer. If multiple cats are in the household each scent must be introduced individually.
Before progressing to a face to face encounter between both cats try allowing the cats to see one another without being able to touch. This could be done through glass or mesh doorway but ensure both cats can escape the situation when uncomfortable. When introducing the cats to each other in a particular room allow the new cat to explore this room alone first.
Start by keeping the introductions nice and short and place the cat back in their safe zone after these meetings. Keep doing this until the cats are happy in each other’s presence, avoiding eye contact and even displaying friendly behaviours. Gradually increase the length of time of the visits until the cats are living together happily.
For more information on settling cats to cats visit https://www.cats.org.uk/ncac/adopt-a-cat/introducing-cats-to-cats-some-tips