You have been dreaming of happily ever after for years and you think you’ve finally met the one! The true test will be when you bring that special someone home and introduce him or her to the other most important purr-son in your life. Your cat! You may want to consider these steps to a successful meet and greet.
Step 1: Scent Matters – Cats are very reliant on scent, and they know your scent like the palm of their…er, paw! Cats do not like to be accosted with new, unfamiliar smells and if your human comes into your home smelling all roses or musky, your cat might react poorly. To avoid this, introduce the scent of your new human gradually and before your love interest visits your home in person. A week or two ahead of time, borrow a sweatshirt or t-shirt from your new love and bring it home for your kitty to get acquainted with. You could put the sweatshirt on your cat’s favourite chair or lounging spot. This will allow your cat to associate your new human’s smell with comfort. If you see that your cat is still avoiding the area where the clothing item is, place it on your lap and call your cat up for snuggle time.
Step 2: Routine Check-In – It has been just you and your cat for a while. Just like most humans, cats enjoy routine. If you’ve been staying out all night with your new human, then coming home only to pick up a toothbrush, refill kitty’s food dish and run out the door again, you can imagine how resentful your fur baby might be. It’s time to for a routine check-in. Consider what your routine was like before you started spending all your extra time with that special new someone and try to commit some time back to your fur-ever friend. Stay at home for a few nights, rather than spending every night out. This will do your human relationship good too because, where humans are concerned, absence makes the heart grow fonder. You could also schedule a few hours of cuddle or play time with kitty, rather than spending the entire day with your new human. You want to show your cat that he is still as important to you as ever before and will never be replaced.
Step 3: The In-Purr-son Introduction – The day has finally come to bring your new person (your new girlfriend or boyfriend) home to meet your existing purr-son (your cat). Your new suitor should enter your home calmly. If your cat decides to greet him or her at the door, your human guest should get down on kitty’s level. Like the human handshake, it’s a good idea to offer an outreached hand. Since cats don’t shake hands, a sniff is customary…that is, a sniff from your cat to your human and not the other way around. If your cat rubs his face on your guest’s hand, this is a good sign. If your cat runs off or decides not to come around at all, don’t force the introduction. Take it at kitty’s pace and once he feels that he is comfortable, he will come around to say hello to the new human in your home.
Step 4: Easing into the Relationship – As your human begins to visit your home more frequently, your cat should realize that this is someone she can get to know and should become familiar with. Your human can encourage positive interaction by re-introducing him/herself to your cat each time he/she visits. Taking a turn to put food into your cat’s bowl or offering a treat to your kitty might also help to purr-suade your cat that this is a friend. Your human guest can even try to engage kitty with a toy. Finally, if your cat is taking some time to get comfortable with your human, ask your suitor to sit next to you on one side as you snuggle with your cat on the other side, or on your lap. When your cat is purring and relaxed, your suitor can gently offer a hand to show your cat that they are friendly. If you maintain pawsitive interactions between your human and your cat, eventually your cat will realize that this new human is not just someone special for you but can also be someone special for kitty too.