Cats are the notorious masters of the household. While living with dogs requires us to be master, or at least act that way once in a while, there is something about a cat that instantly transforms us into servants. We buy them furry mice and cuddle beds, and when they fall asleep, we don’t even like to disturb them. Therefore, the thought of introducing two cats into the household can be an intimidating prospect.
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 the aerobics every feline need on a daily basis.
- 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? If you are on an accelerated introduction program, 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, complete with litter box, bed, cat food, and water. Don’t forget the all-essential sisal-wrapped scratching post, as the new resident will certainly want to mark his territory with his paws and increases your chances of success.
Let your current kitty see what you are up to. If he wants to use the litterbox and scratch the post, let him. After he has checked out the new stuff, take him out. Choose a room that will allow contact that is minimal but immediate. Try to pick a room next to a tile floor or one that has a little space under the door. Once the new cat moves in, the two kitties can spend a few hours playing paws or hissing at each other under the door. Have some delicious treats on hand. Your new cat may be too stressed out to eat for a couple of days, but your resident kitty has a favorite treat, and you know what that is. If a saucer full of tuna will tempt 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 cats behavior.
After the new kitty has been around for a few hours, remove him. Once your new cat is all 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 scent of the new kitty.
Give the new kitty his room back. This may sound like musical rooms, but cats are very sensitive to their environments so separate the cats. 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 in his head about the current resident. This will also reduce cat stress and reduce the chance of cat to cat aggressive behavior.
The final step: Open the door. Once your new kitty is reestablished back in his comfort zone, simply 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 lay eyes on each other. But if, for some reason, you have time constraints, you may be able to accomplish this introduction in a matter of hours. Just watch out for face to face cat fights and feed the cats well 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:
- Petfinder: Cat to Cat Introductions
- Canidae Blog: Six Reasons Two Cats Are Better Than One
- How to Introduce Cats in a slower way
- How to Train a Ragdoll Kitten
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?