New Cat


Tips For Introducing A New Cat (Him) To Your Cat (Her)

1. Keep them separated.
When you bring your new cat home, have a special place set up for him. A guest room is ideal, or a bathroom. Put his food, water and litter box in the room, along with toys and a scratching post. Keep your new cat in his room, away from your other cat, for about a week. It is tempting to let them interact right away, but you will have much better luck if you wait.

2. Introduce the first smell.
To a cat, a sniff is worth a thousand words. To get your existing cat used to the smell of your new cat, rub a towel or washcloth gently over the new cat or remove his bedding after he has lain on it for three or four hours. Let the existing cat smell the towel or bedding. Do not be surprised if she hisses and do not scold her. Hissing and growling are normal reactions. Repeat the same scenario with your new cat. Rub a cloth over your existing cat or remove her bedding to let the new cat sniff. You can also leave the carrier you brought the new cat home in with the existing cat.

3. Encourage interaction through the door.
Place your new cat’s food near the door of his room so he stays near the door. Your existing cat will smell and hear him through the door. Give your existing cat treats and/or catnip near the door of the new cat’s room so that she associates the new cat with good things.

4. Let them roam–alone.
After a couple of days, confine your existing cat in a separate room, and let the new cat roam around the house. This lets him explore and get exercise and also helps him find good hiding places for later. Then put the new cat back in his room and let the existing cat walk around the house and smell where the new cat has been. This is another good way to get them used to each other’s scent.

5. Prop the door open about one inch.
After a few more days, prop the door open about one inch so the cats can see each other but cannot stick their heads out. Be prepared for some hissing and growling. They may try to smack one another but don’t close the door unless they get extremely agitated. Do this several times a day.

6. Okay, let them out.
When the time comes to let the new cat out (do not rush–wait a week), be sure to monitor closely. Open the door to see what happens. Most likely your existing cat will hiss and growl, maybe even wail, her worst fears confirmed.
Unless open fighting breaks out, let them hiss–cats need to establish hierarchy and territorial rights. Even though the growling is upsetting and sounds bad, it is okay. Reassure your existing cat verbally and pet her if you can (she may not let you because she is upset–do not take it personally). When she is nice or at least non-threatening to the new cat, praise her lavishly and give her treats.

7. Do not expect true love.
Bringing in a new cat into the house is not unlike introducing a new baby to an older brother or sister. Jealousy and pouting are normal reactions. Even though you are excited about the new member of your family, do not forget the cat that has been your faithful companion until now. During this time, give her extra petting and attention. Do not yell, scold or punish her for hissing at the newcomer. They may not react like you want them to right away, but they will come around.

We all wish our cats would become best buddies and curl up together, lick each other, etc. Unfortunately, this does not always happen; however, your existing and new cat will at least form a truce. They may not want to hang out together, but they will eventually respect each other’s space and stop hissing. If your cats are never best friends, do not worry because they will still keep each other company. They will be curious about one another and interact together, which at least provides them with stimulation. And remember, they will both bond affectionately with you, and you will be the love of their life.