Introduction of a new cat
Ofcourse you are very happy that there’s a new cat joining your household! But how do you make sure that the cat who already lives with you, likes it just as much as you do? It's not a good idea to just put them together and let them fight to see who is the boss, as you read sometimes. Cat’s who have fought, are not likely to become friends in the future (at least not easily).
How do you intruduce them in the least stressful way
- Give the new cat/kitten a temporary room for himself, separate from the other animals in your home. This is a good way for him to adjust and get used to the new environment. Leave the transport box open and let him come out by himself at his own pace.
- The cat(s) that are already there will hear and smell the new cat and get used to their new roommate like this. Make sure the new cat has his own stuff in the separate room like eat- and drinkbowls, litterbox, toys, sleeping basket.
- Put blankets, sleeping baskets, toys from the new cat with the cat(s) you already have and vice versa. What you can also do is rub a sock or towel against the cats cheeks and put this in the room with the other cat. They will get used to each other’s scent like this. Reward the cats when they sniff the blanket/sock of the other cat so they will get a positive association with the scent of the other.
- The next step is to let the new cat explore the rest of your house. Keep the other cat(s) in a separate room (not the room of the new cat!) during this time. Then take the new cat back to his own room and let the other cat(s) out again.
The steps above can take some time, this is different for every cat. Repeat the steps until the cats don’t act stressed or tensed and don’t react negatively on each other’s scent (anymore).
Time for them to meet
- First of all: Always stay around! You never know how the cats will react and if they are going to fight, you have to separate them immediately.
- Sometimes it will help to play with the cats separately before introducing them, so they are a little bit tired. This hopefully prevents one cat jumping on the other one to play. (Especially with kittens this is a good idea).
- Give the cats some space. Distract them with a treat or a toy so they will associate each other with positive things. (Give just a treat, don’t give a whole meal while introducing, because eating should be a peaceful moment without stress and with no other cats around).
- If you think it’s not going well, put the new cat back in his own room. Keep them separate again for a couple of days and start over. Repeat this until the cats react normally when they see each other. This requires a lot of patience, but later on you’ll benefit.