How do I introduce my cat to a new feline companion?

Feline Friends Brighton

Feline friends. Brighton

Some of the cats we rehome at Cats Protection Brighton & District have to be the only puss in the household. Usually, this is because they may have had to settle in various care and foster homes before they finally find a home where they know they will live forever. That means the stress of settling into a new home and having to be introduced to a resident cat can be a little overwhelming for many felines.

However, some of our cats can be rehomed with other pets, and we know that many of our Facebook followers have other pets and would love to rescue another cat.

Our guide can help you introduce a new cat to your existing pet. If you do it carefully and correctly, they can become close friends.

Introduce the cats slowly

Cats are territorial animals, so a new cat is threatening to their environment. If you cat were to be suddenly introduced to a new cat then he or she may react aggressively to you or to the new animal, or hide away to avoid the the new puss. Your cat may also show signs of stress such as spraying parts of the home to assert their authority or over-grooming.

A slow introduction is necessary to get your cat used to the new pet. This way the cats can also start to become familiar with one another’s scent – an important part of the friendship process for felines.

Give the new cat a room that’s theirs – a safe-room

You will want to keep the new arrival in a room that is outside of the core living area and where your resident cat wouldn’t regularly sleep or eat in. Put everything your new cat needs in there, including their food bowl, litter tray, bed, water, toys and scratching post.

This is also a sensible way of slowly letting your new cat get used to the house and it’s different smells, and to you, of course. You want your cat to feel safe and relaxed here, so that it gets to know you before it gets to know your other cat.

Introduce the cats gradually

If your new cat is a rescue, it might take them a little while to settle in. Before introducing them to your new cat, ensure they are completely comfortable in the house – eating well, drinking and using the litter tray.

Then you can begin to introduce the smells of each cat to one another. A good way to do this is to groom the cats with the same brush, or by swapping their food bowls, bed and toys. According to FourPaws, giving your cat a treat by the door that separates them can be effective because they will start to associate the scent with a positive experience.

Meeting for the first time

Once the cats are used to the different scents you can introduce them to one another. Allow your resident cat to enter your new pet’s room. Put your new cat in its carrier so it is safe from harm if the meeting goes awry.

The cats may hiss at one another when they first see each other but this tends to be normal. You will likely need to do this introduction a few times before the cats meet face-to-face without a barrier. Once it gets to the point that they are simply curious, then you can let them free to meet one another properly but do not rush this step. It is important that both cats feel ready to meet each other. If it is rushed then you could damage the relationship-building process.

Once they’ve met face-to-face

You will nee to keep an eye on the cats. Never leave them together alone. If you do need to leave them, keep your new pet in their safe room. Hopefully, by following this process the cats’ relationship will blossom  and they will become best buddies.

Be patient

This process can take weeks or months – it all depends on the individual cats and their personalities.

Read more:

Cats Protection

FourPaws

If you would like to adopt a rescue cat, please do get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

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