Introducing a Secondary Cat at Home
Congratulations! You are about to go pick up your newest family member and we are sure you are very excited to bring her home. In all of your excitement though, have you considered how your other feline friend is going to react to the new addition?
Cats are territorial by nature especially to other cats that they believe are intruding on their space, which is why it is extremely important that you take the time and care required to introduce them to each other properly.
Set up a separate space for your new kitty to call home for the first couple of days. According to Pamela Johnson-Bennett of Cat Behavior Associates, this space should have everything your cat would need including a bed, litter box, food and water, scratching post and toys.
Step Two - Introduce their scents
After a little bit of time, introduce the scents of each cat to the other. This can be done with a blanket, toy or piece of clothing so that they can become familiar with the scent of one another. As you notice the cats warming up to the item with the new scent and becoming comfortable with it being around, it is time to move to the next step.
Step Three - Let them see one another
While still separating them by a gate, screen or window, allow the cats to see each other and watch you interact with the other in a fun and positive manner.
Step Four - Face to face
Allow them to be in the same room together, with you there as well. Give them time to explore one another, walk around and smell each other.
Be sure to watch how your cats interact with each other; if you notice any bullying tactics like blocking entrance into rooms, litter boxes or stopping the other from accessing food or water dishes, it is time to take a step back and resort back to more separation and allowing each cat to have their own defined space before trying again.
The entire process can take anywhere from a few hours for extremely social house cats to a few months. No matter how long it takes, be sure to never punish either of your cats for their actions toward the other. It will take time, but they will learn to like each other and be able to live together happily and safely.
If you are ever unsure about a situation between the two, always contact your local veterinarian for additional information. They know your cat best and can help you achieve the best results possible.