CatsLiving with Cats

How to introduce your cat to a new cat

If you enjoy being a cat owner, chances are you want to have more than one cat. There is a good reason for having more than one. While cats can thrive in isolation, most cats are social animals who enjoy the company of their own kind. Also, it’s hard for a single cat to do well when completely alone, which usually happens when their humans go to work or, more importantly, take a long vacation. Cats can feel lonely even with a babysitter from time to time.

While cats sometimes get along easily for a few hours, you shouldn’t be surprised if you try to introduce your new cat too quickly. By not having to resolve conflicts every day, the time you spend on this very important process will be saved exponentially. Also, the first few weeks can set the tone for a relationship for a long time to come, so “getting it right” the first time will save you a lot of trouble later.

Consider adding the meaning of cats

While it’s not always predictable how two cats will interact, there are some rules of thumb for choosing a cat or kitten to add to a group.

  • If you’re looking to raise a kitten to keep an older cat, you might want to consider two kittens. As older cats learn to love them, they will be able to keep each other company.
  • If you already own more than one cat, use “Alpha Cat” for an initial introduction. Once it accepts the newcomer, the other resident cats quickly line up.
  • If you can, try to match the personality. For example, if you have a docile, laid-back cat at home, it’s likely to be overwhelmed by an aggressive or energetic roommate.
  • If possible, ask a friend to send the new cat to your home’s cage. You can act nonchalant and then make your house cat think it’s their idea to welcome the newcomer.

Be patient with your cat

The introduction process can take anywhere from two hours to six months, so don’t be discouraged if your cat doesn’t seem to get along at first. Often, they end up being “best buddies.” During this time, all cats involved need a lot of snuggle time and attention. Remember, the main goal is for them to associate happiness with each other’s presence.

With patience and perseverance, you can turn what initially appears to be an “armed camp” into a haven of peace for your integrated feline family. Congratulations on providing a permanent home for another cat in need!

Illustration: The Spruce/Colleen Tighe

Set up a safe room

Create a comfortable “safe room” for your new cat. Put his food, water, litter box (out of the way), scratch pads, toys, beds or other sleeping pads there. Both cats are expected to engage in a lot of “hissing” behavior through the closed door. This is natural and normal; they are just beginning to explore their “pecking order.”

Let the cats smell each other

Smell is very important to cats. Let each of them smell the other indirectly by rubbing a towel over one of them and letting the other smell it. They will soon accept the smell as a normal part of the house.

change roles

Once or twice, switch roles. Put the new cat in its normal living area and let your resident cat sniff out the new cat’s safe room.

Let the cats catch a glimpse of each other

After about a day, have the two cats sniff each other through a baby door or a barely open door. Measure how quickly they seem to adapt to each other.

Supervise the first meeting

When you think they’re ready, let them mingle under your supervision. Ignore hissing and growling, but you may have to intervene in the event of a physical conflict. Again, take this step slowly, depending on how fast they get along. If they do seem to tolerate each other, even reluctantly, lavish praise on both of them.

bring happiness together

Make their first activity enjoyable together so they will learn to associate the joy with the presence of another cat. Feed (with its own separate plate), play and pet. Keep up with compliments.

Problems and Proofing Behavior

Do your best to follow these steps to help your new pet successfully integrate into your family. Remember to give both cats plenty of praise and attention, and don’t forget to continue any routines you’ve established with existing pets.

It may take several tries before your cats really start accepting each other. If things start to go bad, take them apart again and pick up where you left off. If a cat seems to be an aggressor all the time, give it some “time” and try again.

Once you are sure that your cat is interacting well under your direct supervision, you will need to “prove” their behavior. do this:

  • Keep your cats together, but don’t offer them special rewards (treats) for good behavior.
  • Get out of the room, but pay attention to the cat’s behavior. Do they still perform well even if you don’t watch?
  • Continue to monitor your cat’s interactions over time. All cats will occasionally growl or chase at their feline roommates, but a real fight, biting, or other type of aggression can be a sign of trouble.


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