Most domestic cats are extremely social animals. They want to have friends, and that includes feline friends as well as friends of other species. However, not all cats are going to become fast friends with other cats. Just as with humans, friendships take time to develop. If someone threw you in a room with a person you have never met and had nothing in common with, you probably wouldn’t become friends instantaneously. So, don’t expect miracles; expect some work.
Bringing Home Kitty
Adding a new kitty to your home? When you have other cats, you need to be very cautious. The other felines have already bonded. They could consider your new cat an intruder and gang up on him and attack him. Avoid this at all costs.
You will need to have your other kitties secluded and away from the main living area. It would be wise to have a cat carrier to bring your new baby into your home. Place the carrier into the most used room of the home, such as the living room or family room.
Sit next to the carrier, but don’t open it. Let the cat take in the sights, sounds and smells of his new home. Keep reassuring him that all is well and that he will be safe with you. Let him stay in the crate for about 30 minutes. This way he can understand that he is in a new place but that he is safe inside the carrier.
Walk This Way
Once your new family member has settled down in the carrier, it’s time to shake things up. Double-check that all the members of your household understand that the other cats must be kept away for now. Once that is done, you can let your new cat out of the carrier. Have a litter box as well as food and water available to him; the stress of the strange new environment will probably have made him thirsty and have to use the litter box.
They Call Him the Wanderer
Let your new kitty wander about the room. Don’t be concerned if he hides. This is a normal reaction to being in new surroundings that have the scent of other felines. If you have children, do not allow them to try to drag him out of his hiding place! That is never a good idea. The new cat will come out when he feels comfortable enough to do so. Only then can you begin to gently pet him and allow your other human family members interact with him.
Once the new cat has loved on all of the humans in the household and has wandered about the room (dispersing his scent), put him back inside the carrier. He might not be thrilled about being confined again, but it is essential for proper introductions. Be sure that the carrier is close by so you can thwart any unacceptable behavior by your other cats.
Allow one kitty at a time to come into the room and take in the scent of their soon-to-be new friend. Yes, the cats might bat at each other through the carrier door, and if any hissing occurs, banish the loose cat to a time out for a while.
Do this with each feline family member. It’s important that they get to know one another’s scents before allowing them to mingle. Remember the rule: one at a time. Don’t allow the whole crew to converge on a new addition as this could be a recipe for disaster.
After the Initial Interactions
The Humane Society suggests keeping your new cat in his own small room with a bed and familiar toys. Next, swap out your new cat’s bed or blanket with one belonging to another cat. You might want to keep the new cat secluded in his own room for as long as a few weeks, letting him out several times a day under careful supervision, until every pet gets along with the others.
Watch this quick video for more tips:
- Humane Society: Introducing a new cat to other cats
- ASPCA: Introducting your cat to a new cat