Introducing new cats into your home of existing kitties can be stressful. Some think that letting the cats “hash it out” is a good idea, but we disagree. There’s a proven way to introduce new cats into your home peacefully and successfully and this will help you avoid future behavioral issues or fights.
We found this out the hard way when we took in Pooh Bear. We just let him roam the house from day one and were awakened to cat fights at 3am every night. He also felt the need to mark territory around the house and that just wasn’t cool. We had to take steps backwards and reintroduce him the right way to make the transition peaceful.
5 Simple Steps To Introducing New Cats
- Start by keeping the new kitty separate from the cat or cats in your home. For us, this worked best by using the guest room. You want the kitty to be able to feel comfortable, have places to climb, look out the window and have a safe, warm place to sleep. If bringing in kittens, also be sure to kitten proof the room. Don’t forget to provide the new cat with a new, clean litter box as well.
- Introduce their scents to each other. Blankets and toys work well for this. When we introduced Jack and Madison we put a cat tree in their room with the smells of all the other cats. Then, once they spent a night or two on their blankets we took them out and let the house cats take in the scents. This is a very important step for felines.
- Let them see each other but not touch. We used a baby gate or two for this step and we’d open the door for supervised periods of time where they could see and smell each other, but not physically interact. You’ll know when it’s time to close the door again.
- Start feeding them together. This should start at a distance, where they can see each other but aren’t right next to each other. Eating is a happy experience for cats, so we want to associate this happy time with the new cat or kitten. Slowly start moving their food dishes closer over time.
- Give them supervised playtime together. Once they are comfortable with the above steps, let’s introduce them! Let them sniff each other. They may hiss at first, but that’s okay. Just don’t let them fight. Stay calm during this process and use a wand toy to play with them together.
This process can take a week or several months. The key is to go at your cats’ pace. Once you are confident that everyone in the household is comfortable, then we can let the new kitty be a part of the new furever family!