How to Introduce Cats and Avoid the Next Cat Fight!Reading Time: 3 minutes
How to introduce cats correctly is important to give them the best chance of becoming friends who can at least sufficiently tolerate each other enough to share the same living space without any problems.
Consequently, we’ve put together a few important tips to take to ensure that your cats have the very best possible chance of getting along.
Introducing Cats to New Home
Ideally your new cat would come and be housed at a neutral location rather than in your own home which is covered in the scent of your other cat.
Obviously, this isn’t always possible so instead select a room which your new cat will live in initially give it a thorough deep clean and change all fabrics for new fabrics so that the odor is as neutral as possible.
Start Scent Mixing!
Scent is very important when introducing cats. A cats sense of smell is the sense that they rely on most. In fact, a cat’s sense of smell is believed to be around 15 times stronger than a human’s!
When learning how to introduce cats to others, you must know that cats use smell to identify food, potential mates, and enemies and to identify whose territory they are in. Your home is deep in the unfamiliar enemy territory of your first cat and your new cat will be able to quickly pick up on that.
It is therefore important to start mixing your cats scents as soon as possible, this gets both cats used to the idea of another cat and is the first step in the introduction process.
Mixing scents is simple, all you need to do is stroke one cat and then the other using the same hand (obviously without washing it). Do this several times a day for the first couple of days.
You can also swap their bedding and toys so that they get familiar with each other’s scent. Another useful scent mixing tactic to use is to dab your new cats head and paws with a cloth and then spread their scent on the furniture around your home.
Introduce Two Cats To Each Others Spaces
After a couple of days, it is time to step things up a bit, without letting them see each other take your first cat and put it in your new cat’s room and allow your new cat to go and explore whichever room your first cat tends to spend most of its time in.
This will allow each cat to investigate their bedding and get a good sniff of their new potential friend, they will be able to work out a lot of things about each other from the scent such as sex, age, and even size.
Ideally, you will keep them in their new rooms for a couple of days, by which point your new cat will have been living in your home for four or five days. Around this time you can think about letting them meet each other for the first time.
Find That Neutral Space for Those Kitties!
Still wondering how to introduce cats to one another that doesn’t involve smell?
Given that you are in your own home, it may be very difficult to introduce your cats in a completely neutral space. If you have a room which you don’t let your cats into such as a spare bedroom or maybe a garage then this could provide ideal neutral territory for an initial introduction.
If this is not an option then choose the room that your first cat is least familiar with and give it a good clean to remove all traces of your cat’s smell.
For figuring out the best way on how to introduce cats, remember that they are very territorial so removing all traces of scent helps diminish hierarchical feelings of aggression relating to territory, this will hopefully help the initial introduction run more smoothly.
Don’t Force A Meeting Between an Old Cat and New
Cats like to observe from a safe distance, the worst thing you can possibly do when introducing cats is pick them up and force them to meet each other, that approach is very likely to produce a negative response.
Instead let your cats do the introducing themselves, make sure they have plenty of space and freedom to run back to a safe place if they feel anxious. Closing the door and trapping them in an unfamiliar room will stress them out and means they are less likely to get on. Plus you’ll get some time with your cat!
After this initial meeting separate them again and take them back to their safe places. Over the next few days start scaling up the number of times they meet and the duration of the time they spend together. This will help them get used to the sight of each other and will help to diminish any fear they have to the point where they can be comfortable with each other.
How long this will take depends very much on what your cats are like. For some cats the entire process of going from strangers to best friends could take less than a week, other cats may take months.
You know your cats best so observe their behavior carefully when they are interacting to get a feel for how comfortable they are with each other. When they seem fairly relaxed in each other’s presence then you can give them access to your whole house and let them roam around freely.
All being well they will quickly get used to each other and become firm friends!
One important thing within in the process of how to introduce cats is to be aware of is that they don’t always like sharing so it is a good idea to make sure you have multiple litter trays, bowls and bedding available for them so that no unnecessary tension is caused.
If at any stage you do find that your cats are aggressive towards each other then give them extra time in their own rooms and spend a bit more time getting them used to each others scent, while your new cat may not necessarily be the best of friends with your first cat over time they will learn to tolerate each other!
About the Author:
Daniel is a cat blogger at www.tuxedo-cat.co.uk, he has a four-year-old black and white cat called Whisky who was adopted from a rescue home in Liverpool after she was abandoned there in a suitcase.
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