For us cat parents, one is just never enough – but before welcoming a new kitty into the clan, check out these helpful hints about how to introduce a new cat into your home.
1. Start Slow With Smells
Cats make their initial judgments via their ‘sniffers’, so letting them get used to each others smells first is very important. We’ve found a great way to do this initial intro is to put our newest addition into a separate room and letting them sniff each other under the door. Don’t worry if they hiss a few times – it can be intimidating for both parties. After a few days, you may want to take an object (like a blanket or toy) from each room and swap them. This way, the cat who runs the household can start getting used to the new cat’s scent around the house.
2. Let Them See Each Other
After a few days of getting used to a new scent, let them see where the scent comes from. We did this by putting a baby gate (or 2) in the door of the new kitties room and opening it slightly. If they freak out, close it for an hour and then try again. Eventually they will be ‘curious cats’ and check each other out.
3. Feed Them Together
This is a big one and helped us tremendously when introducing Pooh Bear into our feline flock. While they are still in separate rooms, open the door slightly (with the baby gate still in place) and put their food bowls to where they can see each other while eating. Don’t put them too close just yet – just let both parties understand that you will feed and care for them both. They see this as positive affirmation.
4. Move Closer With The Food
Over the next few feeding sessions, slowly move the food bowls closer and closer to each other so that they get used to eating together. This will really help the calming phase.
5. Start Giving Them Human Attention In The Same Room, Separately
Bring the cats into the same room and have two people there to show them equal affection. Bring toys and food to the location and give them cuddles and love. At first, don’t introduce them to each other while they play and eat and love on you. Then slowly hold them and introduce them again.
Repeat the process as needed and soon they will get used to each other. Don’t let yourself stress or shout if they bat at each other a few times after the process. It’s just what they do. Each cat will react differently and, depending on age and background, you may need to repeat the process more than twice. Most cats will take to this method easily and adjust quickly. Just be sure to keep calm at all times – don’t let the kitties see your stress as you figure out how to introduce a new cat into your home. It may be tough at first, but it’s so worth it. Soon your cats will be snuggled up like long lost friends.