Introducing Cats to Cats

Cat to cat introductions .....

When thinking about getting another cat in a household that already has a resident feline, take some time to consider what he or she will think about a new arrival.

Cats are naturally solitary animals and do not need or seek the company of other cats to feel happy in their home. Even after the loss of a feline companion, the resident cat may still protest if another cat is introduced to the home, having enjoyed being the centre of attention for a while. That said, some cats are happy to live with others as long as they’re carefully introduced.

Decision made, ensure that you have enough space and areas for separate resources in case the cats don’t want to eat, drink or sleep close to one another. It’s also important to have a separate area in which to start your cat off in his new home; this shouldn’t take away from your resident cat’s preferred spaces, but be large enough for the ‘new’ cat to spend a week or more if necessary.

Introducing a resident cat to a new one is not a quick process and some cats can take months before settling in. It’s essential that the process is done slowly to avoid a stressful negative outcome.

First things first – scent swapping – a stage often rushed through but for animals that rely enormously on scent, this is the most important stage of their introduction which can be started before the cat is taken home by taking an old jumper, towel or piece of bedding to leave with the fosterer for the cat to take to his new home and make settling in easier. Scent swapping between the two cats – rubbing one cloth across the fur of the other - should continue until both cats simply sniff and walk away.

Before progressing to a face to face encounter between both cats, try allowing them to see each other without being able to touch. This could be done through a glass or a mesh doorway, just ensure that each cat can escape the situation if uncomfortable. Allow each cat to explore the room first.

Start by keeping the introductions nice and short – place the cat back in his safe zone and repeat until they’re happy together, avoiding eye contact but still displaying friendly behaviours. Gradually increase the length of time of the visits until the cats are living happily together.