Introducing A New Cat - Unconventional Wisdom For Unconventional Cats
Introducing cats isn't as daunting as it may sound. All you need is the right mindset, patience and fun toys and yummy treats. Of course, you need compatible cats, too, so it's important to do your homework before you adopt. It's also important to know your cat. While most enjoy company, some don't like other cats and prefer to live alone.
The best match is cats who are about the same age and have similar activity levels. If your current cat is a couch potato, she's not going to be happy living with a live wire who enjoys racing around the house all day. And no, the new cat's not going to make her more active! But she might decide the only place she's safe from her new high-energy housemate is in the corner of a closet or under a bed. This is especially true of older cats and kittens. Kittens need to grow up with other kittens to be well socialized and well adjusted. And they can be annoying and even frightening to older cats.
Tip: Females are usually more territorial than males and may take longer to welcome a newcomer.
Introducing The Cats
Conventional wisdom tells us to hide a new feline family member away in a room for a few days, or even a few weeks. The theory is that the resident cats and the newcomer will get used to each other's scents before they're formally introduced. But most cats don't buy into the conventional wisdom on anything -- including introductions. And it's possible that all that time in isolation will make both the new and resident cats edgy and nervous about the enemy on the other side of the door. This is the way my cats and I like to welcome newcomers to our home, and it's never let us down.
When you and your new cat arrive at home, put the carrier down on the floor for a few minutes so she and the resident cats can see each other and pick up each other's scent. Be casual and upbeat. If you're anxious, the cats will be, too.
Tip: Some cats really do prefer to live alone. If your new cat is still not comfortable with the others after five or six months, you might want to think about finding the newbie a different home.
That Last A Lifetime
Here are some ways to help your original cat and the newcomer become friends.
-- Make the original cat feel special. Give her the most praise and attention, even if that means ignoring the newcomer. The new cat will understand. Her feelings won't be hurt!
-- Help the cats associate pleasant experiences with each other. Feed them together. Or play with them together with an interactive "wand" or "fishing pole" toy. Gently toss a handful of treats and let them "hunt" for food together. Or give each a mound of catnip and let them have a catnip party. When introducing cats, you'll be most successful if you use your imagination and have fun.
How To Find The Perfect Cat
Things To Consider Before You Adopt
What To Do When You Find A Stray Cat