You have acquired your new pet for you, not your current resident. Think how you would feel if you got home tonight and found someone in your house, sitting on your sofa, watching your TV, and eating your food - would you welcome them with open arms or would you throw them out? This is how your exisiting pet will feel. Its resources such as food, litter tray, territory, and you - are all now at risk and most cats will do whatever it takes to protect them.
Introducing a new cat: You may have acquired a kitten that may not be compatible with your older cat - we would not expect our 80 year old grandmother, to tolerate our 2 year old toddler for 24 hours a day! Likewise if you have a large boisterous male, then a small timid female would live a life of misery with him watching her every move. Choose very carefully and take into account the size, age and personality of your existing cat. It is imperative that the new cat is kept separate and under no circumstances should they meet each other until they are ready. It is pointless introducing two cats to each other until they are both completely relaxed.All advice given on this website is by expert cat owners. It is not in any way meant to be used in replacement to any vet or other professional advice. The owner takes no responsibility of any consequences due to any of the information held within the site.
As humans we do not always get on with other humans and so it is with cats.
In my household for example Charlie - who has brain damage, is not really keen on anyone else but will tolerate Raffles and Simon. Simon gets on with everyone. Raffles hates Milly with a passion! Milly in return does not like Holly and stays out of Raffles way. Holly gets on with everyone - except Milly! Tom loves everyone, except Charlie who doesn't like him one bit! Everyone loves Chloe, and Chloe loves everyone! Smudgie is the new girl - Tom loves her and Chloe has taken it upon herself to groom Smudgie! Smudgie has returned the favour. The more cats you have the more 'upset' there will be. Charlie gets on with some males, but not others. Milly loves playing with Chloe, and is inquisitive about Smudgie, but will attack Holly. So you can see how important it is when bringing in a new cat in to your household. They do not have to get on - they will either like each other - or they won't.
A kitten can be just as much of a threat as an adult. Never put a shy timid cat with an aggressive overbearing cat. Whilst a confident cat may bring out a quiet cat, personality plays a very important part and should be considered. A cat's personality develops as it matures, so sometimes it may be more beneficial to take on an older cat whose personality is already formed. Remember - resources WILL be an issue - food, litter trays, territory - make sure there is more than enough to go around!
The new cat must be kept confined, while your original cat must be allowed to carry on as normal. For the purposes of this information sheet "your" cat will be referred to as "Blacky" and the new cat will be referred to as "Snowy". Put your new cat, Snowy, into a spare bedroom if at all possible. Provide her with a bed, a couple of carboard boxes with small holes cut out which will serve as a 'bolt hole, toys, scratching post, food, water and plenty of company! If you are out a lot of the day leave a TV or radio on in the background. This is particularly important if you have a timid cat, otherwise it will be lovely and quiet while you are out and then really noisy once you return, and the cat will begin to dread your return. The next few days/weeks will be spent building up a relationship with Snowy, whilst reassuring your cat Blacky. Watch for positive body language from Snowy - this will let you know how she feels. If she is rolling around on herback, receptive to your handling, loves being stroked and groomed, and happily plays in your presence, then this is one happy cat. If you are met with the cat hiding under the bed, not coming out in your presence, then you have your work cut out.
We will assume that all has gone well and Snowy is very settled and happy in your company. With Blacky confined to another room - say the kitchen - let Snowy start to explore the rest of the house. I would suggest that you close off all other rooms upstairs, and encourage Snowy to come down to the main living area - at least this way if she goes "missing" you know she must be in either of those two rooms and you don't have to search the whole house! Do not rush this stage. If she is happy to stay in her "own" room then just leave her. Go downstairs and sit in the living room - cats are naturally curious and it won't be long before Snowy starts to peer between the banisters to see where you are! After a while return Snowy to the bedroom and let Blacky back in her room, before you let Blacky out of your room. Then when Snowy is more confident of her surroundings encourage her to come down and play with you. Bit by bit you can open up the rest of the house to her, a room at a time.
He will be able to smell where Snowy has been and you may find him paying particular attention to certain areas, and maybe over marking them with his scent, by rubbing his face against them. How many times a day you do this depends on how much you are at home. Alternatively you could take Blacky up to bed with you, and then let Snowy have the run of part of the house when its all gone quiet. Don't forget though to put Snowy back.
This process of opening up the house slowly to Snowy is important. It will allow her to find "safe" places that she can go in the event of Blacky chasing her after they have been introduced. It is imperative at this stage that Blacky & Snowy do not come face to face! If the opportunity presents itself, swap them over - carefully! By this I mean allow Snowy into the kitchen, and Blacky into Snowy's room.
When you are happy that both cats seem settled we can go on to the next stage. If at all possible fix a hook, onto the door where Snowy is. The kind of hook I mean is one whereby you could keep the door slightly ajar - say a couple of inches, so they can see and smell each other, but can't ge to each other. Make sure the hook is high up so the cats can't knock it out of place and get at each other! You will have to judge for yourself whether or not you feel the two want to be with each other - if there is hissing and aggression then it is too early and go back to what you were doing. If they start "playing" with each other with their paws then this is a good sign. It is important at this stage not to let the cats get "frustrated". This can lead to "heightened" senses so that when the cats do meet they just want to fight each other. There may be some initial hissing - this is quite normal. Watch the body language - ears should be forward, not flat. If the cat is very low to the ground, it may be showing signs of fear, or it may be about to attack the other cat. Use distractions methods to move the cats apart and close the door. When you do decide to open the door, do not intervene. The scents of both cats should by now be all round the house, so that when they meet each other, they already "smell" familiar.
The usual greeting for a cat is nose to nose, and then often they turn to offer their rear end for a quicksniff too! This is quite normal. Never use your hands to intervene between two cats - if a fight ensues use a pillow to separate them and close Snowy back in her room. Leave it for another week and continue as you were before. If all goes well you can start to feed them in the same room as each other. Initially at either ends and then gradually over a period of weeks bring the dishes closer together. Never leave Snowy and Blacky together for long periods of time when you are not going to be in. Initially the introductions must be done over a supervised period of a few days.
Ensure there are plenty of litter trays and feeding stations scattered around the house so that these 'rescources' do not become an issue. High up resting places will also help diffuse a difficult situation. If at all possible purchase a large floor to ceiling scratching post.
Information sourced: http://www.caring-for-your-cat.co.uk/introducing_a_new_cat.html
See also: http://www.icatcare.org/advice/how-guides/how-introduce-new-kitten-your-resident-cat
The information is the opinion of the writer in the link to the website provided and is not a substitute for veterinary/professional advice.
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