Introducing a new cat into your home can be a big issue for your existing pets. This is because the other cats or pets might initially view the incoming cat as a threat. The following are things to look out for when bringing a new cat home.
Consider your existing cat’s needs
- Energy levels: It is ideal to adopt a cat of a similar age with the same energy level as the existing ones. For instance, it might seem like a ten-year-old cat would get excited by a kitten, but it is likely the older cat will be constantly upset by the kitten who likes to play continually.
- Their experience: If your current cat has never been around other cats apart from when it was a kitten, it might take them a while to adjust to a new cat.
- Go slow: Introducing a new cat into your home should be an unhurried process. Actually, the slower the process, the higher the chances of an effective introduction. The introduction should be at the pace of the most stressed cat; this might be the resident cat(s) or the new cat. It can be tempting to hasten the process; however, patience makes everyone (cats and people) happier.
Tips on how to introduce your cat to a new cat
- Separate the cats: Keep the new cat(s) in an isolated room in the initial stages of the introduction process; this is vital for the new cat to start to feel relaxed in their new environment, and for the existing cat(s) to adjust to the presence of the new cat. During this period of separation, switch the cats’ bedding to have them get used to each other’s scent. Moreover, all the cats must get sufficient playtime as this assists in reducing stress. Ensure both the resident and the new cat show calm and relaxed behavior before moving on to any further introduction steps. The existing cat(s) should behave as they did before the arrival of the new cat. Your new cat should be exploring their room confidently and displaying social behavior with everyone in the home.
- Create positive relations: The objective here is to show your cats that good things, such as treats, occur when they meet each other and to cultivate positive associations. To begin, identify a treat or food that each cat likes. Moving forward, give the cats the treat in the company of each other. You should not pick up and force any of the cats to see each other. When you observe positive signals that the cats are getting comfortable with each other, increase the time they see each other. These signs include eating the treats in the presence of the other cat, playing with a toy in the presence of the other cat, ignoring each other and going about their own business on opposite sides of a baby gate, touching noses through the gate, and playing footsies beneath the gate.
- Supervised time together: At this point, your cats are comfortable with one another; however, they have not directly interacted. Now, you give them supervised moments together. Reward them with treats for any neutral or positive interactions. In case of any slight indication of an undesirable interaction such as stalking, pouncing, or chasing, distract your cats with a toy. The purpose of this is to terminate the interaction positively, then gradually increase the time you allow them to be together under close supervision.
Lastly, ensure the home environment sufficiently meets the needs of each cat, i.e., enough scratching posts, litter boxes, hiding spaces, resting spaces, food bowls, water bowls, and comfortable toys, to avoid unnecessary competition for these resources.
Categorised in: Cat Tips
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