Use these tips and tricks when introducing a new cat to your resident pets.
When you’ve made the decision to expand your fur family, introducing a new cat to your pets can be daunting. Will your resident pets get along with the new pet? Here are a few tips and tricks to make introducing a new cat go as smoothly as possible.
Introducing a New Cat to Other Cats
Cats are territorial and don’t like change, so you will have some work cut out for you. However, don’t get discouraged. It’ll be worth the effort once your cats are getting along, playing and napping together. There are a few things to consider when introducing a new cat. If you have an older, calm cat, it will be harder to introduce a playful kitten. If you have a cat that’s never been around other animals, they’ll most likely have a hard time adjusting to another animal.
Cats don’t like to share. Your cat may start marking their territory by peeing on the walls, floor or other objects. Remember to be patient; introducing a new cat can take anywhere from a few days to even a few months in extreme cases.
Keep The Cats Separated
There are a few tricks for introducing a new cat. Keep the new cat in a separate room with toys, food, water, scratching post, bed and litter box for a few days. You can feed your new and resident cat at the same time, separated by the door. This way, they’ll associate something positive (eating) with each other’s scent.
You can also use toys to get your cats to interact. Tie toys on the end of a string and place the toy on each side of the door. The cats will hopefully play together with the toy. It’s important to spend time with both your new cat and your resident cat.
Rotate the cats between the rooms. Take the new cat out of its room, and allow your resident cat to investigate the new cat’s territory, and vice versa. Allowing your cats to get used to each other’s scent is crucial. Switch the cats for several days. Once you’ve done this, you can slowly introduce the cats visually. Use a baby gate or cat carrier so the cats are separated, but can still see each other.
When the cats are ready to meet face-to-face, don’t expect it to go perfectly. Some cats will simply sniff each other. Others might just sit and stare at one another. If this is the case, use a toy to encourage playing together. On the other hand, some cats will be aggressive toward each other. They might hiss, growl, spit and flatten their ears. If your cats are in a standoff, try to distract them by making loud noises. If they are still aggressive, carefully get them into separate parts of your house. Do not pick up the cat if it’s being aggressive. It will most likely bite or scratch you because it’s so stressed.
Introducing a new cat is a process that can take a while. Continue using the different methods to help make this new life stage less stressful for both cats.
Introducing a New Cat to Dogs
It’s one thing to introduce a new cat to other cats, but it’s another to introduce it to your dog. Dogs are most likely to treat the new cat like another dog and want to play with it. Or they might see it as prey and try to chase the cat. The latter can be a dangerous situation, because a dog can kill a cat. It’s important to know your dog’s personality. If they are a predatory type, it’s not a good idea to get a cat because you’ll be putting the cat and dog at risk. But if your dog is generally friendly and gentle, it could be the perfect companion for a new cat.
When you bring the new cat into your home, keep it separated from the dog, just like you would when introducing it to other cats. This will help your cat get accustomed to its new home, as well as let your dog get used to the smells and sounds of the cat.
Use a baby gate in the doorway of the separate room. Walk your dog past the baby gate, encouraging good behavior with treats for both the dog and cat. This will help them associate positive reinforcement with each other. It’s important to make sure their interactions are positive.
When you’re introducing a new cat face-to-face with your dog, keep your dog on a leash. This will help you keep better control if your dog overreacts when seeing the cat. If your cat gets scared and hides, let it. It can be a slow and stressful process for both animals. Remember to reward both animals with treats for good behavior.
Your pets are part of your family and deserve only the best care. We recommend always consulting with your veterinarian when bringing a new pet into your home. For more information and tips about caring for your four-legged friends, visit out pet care blog.