10 Tips on How to Introduce Your New Cat to Other Pets

10 Tips on How to Introduce Your New Cat to Other Pets

Bringing a new cat home is an exciting and memorable experience. While the first introductions may seem a little challenging at times, there are things you can do to help your pets become the best of friends.

Here are ten tips for introducing your furry friends.

 

#1 Have Realistic Expectations

While you can’t force your pets to bond instantaneously, there are things you can do to increase your chances of success. That said, it’s important to have realistic expectations and to realize that building relationships and accepting each other takes time.

 

#2 Choose Your New Cat Carefully

Choose a cat with a similar activity level and personality as your current pet. Talk to your neighborhood shelter staff and see what they recommend. We, at All About Cats Veterinary Hospital, are also happy to offer tips on finding a new cat that’s a good match to your current pets.

 

#3 Prepare a Safe Space 

Before bringing your newcomer home, prepare a safe space with food, water, a bed, a scratching post, toys, and a litter box. That will allow your new furry friend to adjust safely while giving your current pet a chance to acclimate. For the long run, have a litter box per cat, separate feeding areas, and always make sure all pets have “safe” places when they need time alone.

 

#4 Maintain Routines

Maintain your current pets’ routines as close as possible to what they were before the new arrival. Animals thrive on consistency, and the knowledge of what they can expect will give a sense of security.

 

#5 Take Things Slow

Introductions take time. Slow introductions will help prevent fearful or aggressive behavior from developing. The slower you go, the better things will be in the long run.

 

#6 Build Positive Associations

Start feeding your newcomer by the door of the safe room while placing your current pet’s food outside the door. That way, your pets will associate something they enjoy with each other’s scents.

 

#7 Swap Scents

Getting your animals used to each other’s scents will help make the first face-to-face meeting positive. Swapping blankets or toys can help. When they finally meet, their scents will be familiar.

 

#8 Give Your New Cat Some Roaming Time

Once your new pet settles in the safe space, it’s time to introduce some free roaming time. Confine your current pets in the newcomer’s room, and have your new kitty explore your home. Repeat this several times a day for a few days.

 

#9 Supervised Introductions

As a pet parent, you’ll get the sense when it’s right to introduce your pets. You may want to prop open the door to the safe area just enough to allow the animals to take a peek at each other. Once again, be patient, and take your time. Just make sure to supervise your pets’ time together to ensure all goes well.

 

#10 Conflict Resolution

Don’t be surprised if your animals don’t get along right away. They may need some time before being completely comfortable. Watch out for signs of aggression such as flattened ears, growling, spitting, or crouching. Clap your hands loud or throw a toy or treat to distract and redirect angry pets. Whatever you do, never try to pick up an animal in a fight because you’ll likely get hurt. In the rare event the aggression continues, you may need to start introductions all over again or seek an animal behaviorist’s help.

 

Need More New Pet Tips?

While the task of getting your animals acclimated may seem daunting at first, you’ll be surprised at how well most pets do. If you have any questions at any time, we at All About Cats Veterinary Hospital are here to help. Just remember, patience, perseverance, and a great sense of humor go a long way!

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RICHARD LESTER, DVM

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