Cat to Cat Introductions
Research has shown that a single hostile encounter between two unfamiliar cats can set the tone for their relationship for a long time to come. So to prevent your new cat from getting off on the wrong foot with your resident cat, plan to introduce them gradually. Adults that grew up around other cats usually adjust more easily to a new feline housemate. If you are adopting from Happy Cat Sanctuary, we will try to help you match the personality of your new cat to that of your resident cat. Remember to spend plenty of quality time alone with your resident cat in order to minimize jealousy. At first, do not allow face-to-face contact between the two cats. Instead, follow these steps:
- Confine the new cat to a room (door closed) while the resident cat has the rest of the house. Then switch their places for an hour or less every day. This allows them to become familiar with each other's scent.
- Keep the new cat in a separate room for several days, occasionally switching places between them to allow each cat to smell the other without an encounter. You'll need a separate litter box for the new cat, and depending on the cats' preferences, you may want to continue to maintain two litter boxes for them after the introduction is completed.
- After a few days, crack open the door separating the two cats. Prop it open a couple inches so they can see one another but can't make full contact. Once they tolerate this limited contact (no fighting, some hissing and growling may be expected), open the door a bit wider. If they start to backslide, go back to step 2.
- When the two cats seem comfortable with limited exposure, try feeding them on opposite sides of the same room. Then return them to their separate quarters. After a few days of common mealtimes, they may be ready to share the same living space. Remember to let them set their own pace and never force them to be together. Keep them separated when you are not home to supervise until you're certain they can tolerate each other’s presence. It may take a few days and sometimes even 2 or 3 weeks before they reach this stage. Patience is the key to a happy, multi-cat home. If steps are taken correctly, it should be no problem to introduce any new cat into a multi-cat home.
Happy Cat Sanctuary follows this guideline to introducing new cats to our facility; we have been quite successful and have cats (anywhere from 10-25 at a single time) of all different ages, sizes, genders and personalities living together peacefully.
Happy Cat Sanctuary is here to help you, if you have any questions or concerns about introducing your new cat to your existing cat, please contact us and we will offer tips and suggestions to make it easier for everyone!