There is no doubt that the question of how to introduce a second cat into your household is the most common among cat owners who consider that their best friend needs company. We know how difficult it is for us to adopt a single kitten, either because we love these beautiful animals, because we want to expand the family or because we have found a stray cat in the street that urgently needs a home, which is why we’d like to explain how to carry out the presentation.
Unfortunately, the introduction of a new cat into a house where a feline already lives is not that easy! So much so, that if the presentation between cats is not done correctly, the introduction of the new member can be very stressful for both the old cat and the newcomer. Many are the those who choose the technique of putting them together and waiting to see what happens, but there are few cases that have a positive outcome. Animals are likely to be nervous, anxious and even aggressive towards each other. This is why we have prepared this article on how to introduce a new cat to another cat. Get your notebook out and take note!
How do you get a cat used to a new home?
There are several steps you must follow to introduce a new cat into the family and get both animals to tolerate each other and become friends. Above all, it is necessary to be very patient! Never force cats to be together because, if you do, they will most likely assault one another.
Remember that cats hate changes in their routine and are very territorial animals. How do you think your feline will take the arrival of a new cat if you don’t follow the right steps? Although this is a slow process, you’ll see that it will be worth it in the end and you’ll get your reward by watching the kittens sleeping together, playing and spending hours next to each other. Regardless of the age of the new cat, whether a puppy or an adult, the process is similar. We explain step by step what you should do it. Take a look at the process of a cat adjusting to a new home to understand how they will feel during these days.
Before introducing a second cat in your home
Even before the arrival of the new kitten, you can begin the adaptation process. Buying synthetic pheromones in diffuser (such as Feliway) so you can place them in the new member’s room is more than recommended. However, the old cat will not be able to access this space, for now. In this sense, in addition to including the pheromone diffuser, you can start preparing everything you need to make sure that the new member has his/her own room, litter box, water, food, toys, scratching posts, etc. This space will be like a monastery for the new kitten, a place to take refuge and feel safe. The feeling of security is essential for the adaptation process.
First day: how to introduce two cats
Place the new family member in the space provided for them. At this time, you should not let the old cat into the room, since, for now, each one should have their own space. Through smell, both animals will know that they do not live alone, and will feel uncomfortable, so at first it is important that they identify themselves by smell alone.
If you notice that the cats are each standing next to the door of the room hissing or growling, do not scold or punish them. Try to distract the animals, get them out of that place, play with them and calm them down. The most important thing of all is that they feel relaxed to start associating each other with positive stimuli, and shouting on your part would be a very negative one.
How to get cats to get used to each other
After having properly housed the cats, each one in their space, it is time to show them that this change brings positive things. To do so, it is important to remember the importance of positive reinforcement, which is essential in the education of any feline.
A great way to get them to start their relationship on a good note is, even if they are separated and after two or three days after the arrival of the new cat, to put a bowl of food for each one near the door that separates them. In this way, they will come closer for lunch and begin to get used to each other’s presence. The distance from the door should be enough to make the cats comfortable, but if one of them starts to hiss or ruffle their fur, move the food bowl away until they are in a comfortable position.
Each day that passes, bring the bowls closer together until the time comes when they are glued to the door. Remember that you can’t open the door yet, as we have mentioned, it is a slow process that must be done correctly to obtain good results. A little carelessness may be enough to go back to the beginning.
To get used to the smell of each other
Odor is the way cats get to know each other. The pheromones they release are the main method of communication between felines. In order for your cats to get used to and know each other’s scent before they see each other personally, you will have to place an object from each of them in each other’s space. You can also rub the cat lightly with a towel or cloth when it is calm and gentle. To do this, pass the fabric through the cheeks region, where they release more pheromones. The most important thing is to do it when the cat is calm, that way the other cat’s scent is transmitted calmly when they smell the towel with the pheromones.
Now just place the towel next to the other cat and watch their behavior carefully. If they just smell it and don’t do anything, reward them! It’s a very good sign that they don’t transfer or show signs of aggression. Play with the cat near the towel and reward them. It is very important to associate the smell of the other cat with positive things so that they recognize it as something good for them.
Once the cats have gotten used to each other’s smell, it’s time to change rooms. Start by introducing the old cat into the space provided for the new member and leave them locked up for a moment. In the meantime, release the new-coming kitten around the house and let them walk around freely. You may find that he don’t want to leave their comfort space, you shouldn’t force them to do so and try the exchange again another day. Whenever any of them behave properly, remember to reinforce that attitude positively with food and lots of affection.
If at any time the new cat begins to get stressed, return them to their safe space and try to calm them down and relax.
Let the old cat explore the new space
When the new cat is completely at home, without the old feline nearby, lock them in a room and find the old cat so that they can explore the space of the new member quietly. As we have pointed out with the previous one, if the old feline does not want to collaborate or is restless and stressed, do not force them. You can repeat this process as many times as necessary, remembering the popular saying:”haste is the enemy of perfection”.
Introducing a second cat to a new home doesn’t have an exact science. Each cat has a different rhythm of adaptation to new situations and it is therefore important to respect the rhythm and limits of each cat. Always adapt the rhythm and training sessions to the most shy and nervous cat.
The first meeting between cats
When the cats are completely calm and comfortable in their environment, it is time to present them. This moment is very important and you must be very careful to avoid any situation that triggers aggression between them.
There are different options to introduce two cats for the first time. If you have an area with a glass or window in the center, this is an excellent idea. Another possibility would be to place the new cat in their room and repeat the previous feeding session but with the door slightly open so that you can look at each other. If they are calm, you can use a fishing rod type toy to play and associate them with fun moments.
If the new cat is a kitten, placing them in a carrier so that the old cat approaches them can also be a good alternative.
And if any of the felines become stressed or aggressive, throw a treat or a toy away from the other cat to distract and separate them. As we have already mentioned, some animals take longer to accept each other and you can always try again tomorrow. The important thing is not to spoil everything by wanting to do things quickly.
When cats no longer show any kind of aggressiveness or discomfort in relation to each other, congratulations!, you have managed to get them used to each other. Now you can let them get to know each other, be together, sniff and play, but always with caution. Watch them during the first few days of total freedom to ensure that no altercation takes place between them. Also, keep prizes and toys close by in case you need to use them to keep one of the felines away.
How to get two cats to like each other
However, if after discovering how to introduce a new cat to another cat, you have noticed that you did the wrong thing and therefore your cats don’t get along…, there is still hope! Our advice is that you do the whole process set out in the article, as if the newest one had just arrived, and make room for them. While we cannot guarantee success, it is possible that by following these steps you can bring your animals closer together and at least get them to tolerate each other in order to bring peace back home.
If, unfortunately, none of this works and you don’t get your cats to stop fighting, you should go to a feline ethologist for professional help.