Bringing a New Cat Into a Home with an Existing Pet

December 11, 2019 12:02 am Published by

Many people choose to celebrate the holidays or new year by opening up their home and hearts to a new pet. The holidays in Alexandria, VA are a wonderful time to add to the family, but bringing new pets into the home can be tricky. If you are planning to celebrate by bringing home a new pet this season, here are some things you should know.

Create a safe space

If you are bringing a pet home from a shelter, or even a pet store, chances are they’ve spent the last few weeks or months in a rather small space and with a set routine. Suddenly giving them complete freedom to roam an entire house may be overwhelming for them—and for you. While every pet’s needs are different, most pets need a little time to explore a controlled area to start feeling at ease.

Dinnertime is a good time for introductions

For the second meal your new cat has in your home, have your cats eat their dinner on opposite sides of the same door. This is helpful for two reasons: it’s a safe way to start the introductions and get both cats used to the idea that there is another cat in the house, and it allows both cats to associate something pleasurable, like eating, with the presence of the other cat.

Let them explore

Once your new cat seems comfortable in the confined space and willing to come to you for treats, affection, etc., it’s time to let them explore the rest of your home. Just be sure that any areas where the cat could get lost or hurt, such as the basement or attic, are closed off. Allowing this exploration phase lets your new cat get used to the scent of your existing cat before they meet face to face.

Monitor the first several face-to-face interactions closely

Okay, now it’s time for the first face-to-face interaction. During this introduction, it’s essential that you stay nearby and ready to take action if necessary. These first encounters can go south rather quickly, so you should be ready, but remain calm. You don’t want your kitties to sense any sort of fear or anxiety on your part. Some signs of fear or aggression, such as hissing and batting, are normal for these first few interactions. However, if you see signs of escalation, be prepared to separate your cats and you can try the introductions again later. These interactions should not be forced, and you want to avoid creating a pattern of aggressive behavior for their relationship.

The holidays, and the whole year round, are a great time to open up your hearts and home to a cat in need of a loving family. But to make sure the transition is smooth for everyone, keep these tips in mind. For more new pet facts like these, visit Kingstowne Cat Clinic’s blog or give us a call at our Alexandria, VA office. We’d love to get to know you and your pets!

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