Cats are the notorious masters of the household. While living with dogs requires us to be masters or at least act that way occasionally, there is something about a cat that instantly transforms us into servants. We buy them furry mice and cuddle beds; we don’t even like to disturb them when they fall asleep. Therefore, the thought of introducing two cats into the household can be an intimidating prospect.
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While raising more than one dog requires a lot of forethought and planning and might be a no-no if both are in the puppy stage, having multiple cat breeds in a household can be a plus for everyone. There are a few factors that make adding a companion cat a good idea:
- Cats are generally happiest with a playmate.
- Cats are good at entertaining each other.
- Cats’ running and chasing games can provide every feline’s daily aerobics.
- Cats will mutually groom each other.
- Your housing a cat provides a service to the pet overpopulation problem. You are saving lives!
- There may be no cuter sight than two buddy cats cuddling it up.
With all these factors in mind, you have decided to go for it and get your kitty a brother or sister. Experts suggest introducing the cats slowly, but what if you are on a tight schedule?
Suppose you are on an accelerated introduction program. In that case, there are a couple of ways you can introduce cats more quickly than you might otherwise. As a precaution, make sure both cats have a handy place to hide, and be sure to trim their claws before the introduction.
Set up a room for the new kitty. Have a spare room ready with a litter box, bed, cat food, and water. Remember the all-essential sisal-wrapped scratching post, as the new resident will undoubtedly want to mark his territory with his paws, increasing your chances of success.
Let your current kitty see what you are up to. Let him use the litterbox and scratch the post if he wants to. After he has checked out the new stuff, take him out. Choose a room that will allow contact that is minimal but immediate.
Pick a room next to a tile floor or one with some space under the door. Once the new cat moves in, the two kitties can spend a few hours playing with paws or hissing at each other under the door. Have some delicious treats on hand. Your new cat may be too stressed to eat for a few days, but your resident kitty has a favorite treat.
If a saucer full of tuna tempts him, set that down by the crack in the door. If he prefers dry commercial treats, scatter them near and under the door. This will improve the cat’s behavior.
Remove him after the new kitty has been around for a few hours. Once your new cat is established in his space and knows where the best hiding places are, put him in his carrier, and take him out of the room. Put your existing cat in the room to let him sniff around, acquainting himself with the new kitty’s scent.
Give the new kitty his room back. This may sound like musical rooms, but cats are susceptible to their environments, so separate them. Once you put the new cat back with your first kitty removed, the new one will know he has been invaded. He will have a chance to sniff around, getting a mental picture of the current resident. This will also reduce cat stress and the chance of cat-to-cat aggressive behavior.
The final step: Open the door. Once your new kitty is reestablished in his comfort zone, please open the door and let nature take its course. This pet care process can be adjusted to the amount of time you have. If you have a couple of days, great.
You can let the new kitty live in his cat home and get all the growling and hissing out of the way before they ever look at each other. But if you have time constraints, you may be able to accomplish this introduction in a matter of hours. Watch out for face-to-face catfights and feed the cats with lots of treats.
Be aware that some cats never do adjust to having a companion cat. Unfortunately, you may not know that until they finally meet. However, most cats appreciate having a buddy, even if they do nothing but squabble for the first few days. Since they are the masters of the household, the answers are all up to the cats.
More reading on how to introduce cats:
Have you had to introduce two cats before? What tips or tricks worked for you? Did anything fail? What happened, do you think, and why?
Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,