Cats are like chips, you can’t have just one. So, when you’re ready to bring home another cute kitten or you’re rescuing an adult cat, you want to be careful of how you introduce your new feline to the current feline(s).
Persians, Maine Coons, Ragdolls, and Birmans, tend to be more forgiving and easy-going with change, but some cats just aren’t as forgiving, which is why the first introduction can be touchy.
First, you want to make sure that the new cat is tested for feline leukemia, respiratory infection, and feline aids. These illnesses are contagious, so to speak, and you don’t want to your other cat(s) to get sick.
Sometimes, you may adopt a new cat on the fly, but when you are able, you want to prepare for your new kitty.
Make sure to add an extra litter box, food bowl, and water bowl. Cats can be very territorial, so you want to reduce the known frictions.
Set up a “safe room.” You want the new kitty to feel safe and the adjustment process will move more quickly if the new kitty feels safe in his new home. Place food and water bowls, a litter box, toys, and any cat furniture in the room.
The “safe room” will also let the new cat sniff under the door and paw at the other cats, and vice versa. It’s very important that the cats smell each other but not see each other for the first week or so.
After a few days, you want to feed one cat and switch bowls to feed the other, using the same bowl. This will help the process along.
After a week or so in the “safe room,” you will want to try to make the first introductions, but before you open the door, you’ll want to switch the cats. Put your existing cat(s) in the “safe room” and let the new cat out. This will allow the cats to fully immerse each other scents.
Do this daily for a few days.
When you’re ready to introduce the two cats, they’ll already know each other by scent.
Crack the “safe room” door so that the cats can meet face-to-face. Let the cats see each other, sniff, and maybe paw at each other. Depending on how this goes, you may need to shut the door and try again, repeating the process daily for a few days.
If either of the cats appear stressed or aggressive, you’ll want to back off, as the cats aren’t ready yet.
You want the first encounters to be short, so that you can avoid any potential aggression.
Signs of Aggression
- Flattened ears
In some cases, you can distract the cats from getting into a fight by talking loudly or clapping your hands, but if the aggression heightens, you’ll want to separate them and try again in a few days.
You want to be patient and reassuring to all cats that are involved.