Introducing a new cat

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Introducing a new cat to the house doesn’t alwasy go smoothly. Many people still think that if you put two cats together, things will just work out. That or they think that cats can ‘fight it out’ among themselves. Let’s be clear: it (usually) doesn’t work out and ‘fighting’ only results in expensive vet bills and unhappy cats. So how should it be done?

How do you introduce a new cat?

The successful introduction of a new cat in the house depends on proper preparation, patience and tasty snacks.

Five tips for a successful introduction of cats

1) Choose a second cat that matches your current cat in age and especially in temperament. For example, do not put a playful and energetic cat with a quiet cat that sleeps a lot. 

2) Keep the cats separate. Provide a separate room for the new cat with all the essentials: food bowl, water bowl, scratching board, sleeping place and a private litter box. When you come home, immediately put the new cat in the separate room with the door closed. Do not let them see each other, not even for a moment.

3) Take your time. Cat introductions mostly go wrong because people go too fast. A successful introduction between cats can take weeks or months, or it can be done in a matter of days. You can’t put a time stamp on this process.

4) Really look at your cats. Are they relaxed, eating well and sleeping well. Or is the opposite the case and are they snarling, hissing, restless or aggressive. Let your cats’ behaviour decide how to proceed with the next step. 

5) Reward neutral or friendly greetings between the cats with a nice treat. 

If they are restless, scared or aggressive, separate them again. And go back to the beginning of the process.