Cats make wonderful companions and adopting a new one is an exciting thing. However, if you already have a cat in the house, the excitement can quickly turn to frustration. Not all animals get along right away and that includes cats. Cats can be territorial, skittish, and may not take kindly to you bringing home another cat.
When you bring home a new cat, it’s important to consider how your current cat may feel. Never assume that just because your current feline companion is generally laid back he or she will just “go with the flow.” You may be surprised. You need to be prepared for any reaction.
A good way to go about new cat introductions is to avoid direct, face-to-face interactions for a little while. You want your cats to have time to adjust to a lot of things before meeting.
Smell: Smells have a significant impact on cats; they mark their territories with their scents in many ways—rubbing, sleeping, pawing, urinating, etc. So, a good method for allowing cats to get familiar without incidents is to allow them time to smell. Put the new cat in an area where your current cat sleeps, or eats, etc. Place your current cat in a room with the new cat’s carrier, or bedding. Give them time to smell and become comfortable.
Sight: Once you feel comfortable taking another step in the new cat introduction process, you can try placing the cats near one another, but not so close that they can get to one another if they get angry. Try putting the cats in two separate rooms that are connected by a door. In the door way, place a screen through which the cats can see, but not move. This way, they can see, hear, and smell one another, but not fight.
Eat: If the cats show any antagonism toward each other, keep them separated by the screen for a while. During this time, feed the cats at the same time. Start by placing the food bowls some distance from the screen, but where they can still see one another while they eat. Over time, move the bowls closer. After a while, you may find that they can approach one another from opposite sides of the screen and eat without fighting.
New cat introductions take time. Have patience, keep trying, and you will eventually have two cats that can live together. They may even become close. If you find the process very difficult, seek the advice of your vet, or possibly an animal behaviorist. Don’t forget to bring your cats in for checkups at Pet Vet Hospital.