Feline Wellness

How to Introduce Cats to Each Other

May 27, 2024

If you have a cat and are thinking of adopting another one, GREAT! The more, the merrier. But you should know that you can’t just bring a new cat home and expect the two cats to get along right away. Friendship will be more likely if you understand how to introduce cats on their terms. 

Cats are territorial animals who don’t love change so you should not introduce your new cat to any other pets right away. They will all need to decompress for a bit first. The introduction process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. It is very important that introductions are not rushed and they are done properly. It’s something you need to get right the first time. It’ll be worth the wait. 

Before you bring the new cat home, set up a safe space from them to start out in. A large bathroom or a bedroom is purrfect. Having access to the whole house would be overwhelming for a cat. They like calm, quiet, and cozy spaces, especially when they are stressed out or in a new space. The room should be set up with food and water bowls, a litter box, some toys, a scratch post, and some cozy hiding spots like a cardboard box with a blanket inside or a covered cat bed. Don’t worry if your new cat is hiding under the bed or in the closet at first. They are just confused and will come out and explore their new home when they are ready.

While your new cat is confined to the one room, feed them near the door and feed your original pets on the other side of the door. This will help them to associate each other with something positive - FOOD! Treats like Love, Nala mousse can be a fun reward too. Scents are more important to cats than sight so they will “meet” by smelling each other through the door. 

After a few days, swap the blankets or beds that the cats use so they can continue to smell each other’s scents before physically meeting. Switch their toys too so they associate the opposite cat with another positive thing - PLAYTIME. 

Hopefully the new cat is feeling confident and ready to explore their new home after a few days. If they are using the litter box and eating their meals, that’s a good sign they’re ready for more. If they seem excited to venture out, you can allow them some free time to explore more of the home. During this time, put your resident cat in the new cat’s temporary room so they can sniff around.

If that goes well and everyone seems comfortable with the new scents, try having them meet face to face. Use toys and treats and plenty of affection so the cats keep associating each other with positive experiences. There may be some hissing or swatting at first - we are cats after all - and that's totally normal. Cats usually work things out on their own over time. Keep the initial meetings short and sweet, just quick little bursts of supervised fun. Gradually increase the length until they are spending more and more time together. Praise good behavior and offer frequent rewards. 

Be patient and do not get discouraged if the animals don't get along right away as this process can take weeks. Friendship doesn’t happen overnight.  

Most importantly, be sure to shower your resident cat with lots of love and attention so they don’t feel threatened or upset. You aren’t replacing them. You are just adding more love to the family!

Love, Nala