We’re frequently asked for tips on how to introduce new cats to the family, because for a lot of people cats are like potato chips… You can’t have just one.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that it takes TIME. Patience is a virtue and it’s really important not to rush things when a new kitty comes home. We highly recommend setting up a separate space for the new kitty, someplace that is confined and safe from your other pets. Give them at least a day or two to claim this area for themselves and make sure they’re comfortable in that space before you try to introduce anything else. This first step may take weeks or even months, but don’t skip it!
Once the cat is comfortable, you can start to introduce the scents of your other animals by switching out blankets or beds that the other animals use regularly. You can also have feeding time on opposite sides of a door. First impressions are very important when animals are meeting, so making it a positive experience with food, toys and loving attention will make this whole process much smoother.
When the cats and animals seem comfortable with the scents of each other, you can start to visually introduce them. We recommend that you keep a barrier between them still, but allow them to see each other. If they’re not hissing and growling that’s great! Make sure to keep providing love and play and food during this process.
Now it’s time to let them interact with each other. These sessions should be supervised until you’re pawsitive they’re getting along. Start out with a short 10 minute play time together and gradually increase the time until everyone is comfortable.
This whole process may seem like its going to take forever, but the number one cause of behavior issues is poor introduction to environment and other animals. Inappropriate peeing outside the litter box or scratching furniture or walls, can be a sign that your new cat or other animals are trying to establish dominance and territory.
Please take the time to properly introduce your animals and you and your new family will be happier for it. If you ever have any questions or concerns about how your animals are getting along, we’re always happy to help!
For more tips and tricks, we recommend that you take a look at this article from Jackson Galaxy, the cat daddy: https://www.jacksongalaxy.com/blog/the-dos-and-donts-of-introducing-cats