How Do I Make it Easier on My Resident Cat When I Bring a New Cat Home?

CatChannel expert Jeanne Adlon, professional cat sitter, tells a reader how to help introduce cats.

Q: I have a cat but want to adopt another from a shelter. How do I make it easier on both when I bring the new cat home?

A: First I want to thank you for adopting from a cat shelter — so many kitties need good homes especially now. I get asked this question often and I always want to encourage readers to adopt so here are my tried and true tips.

I think the most important thing to know is that time and patience generally take care of any concerns when bringing a new cat into the family. Remember to relax and do not be in a rush to create feline harmony-that will come.

A good friend just brought home two cuties —Yanna and Margie — from her local cat shelter. Both are adorable girls and littermates. The cat shelter said they are a bonded pair but when they stepped into their new home the strange environment and all the new smells made them act like tigers! It took a few days before they calmed down and were buddies again. Yanna and Margie were pals already and they had to adjust — so will yours.

Cats are territorial so your current kitty will probably have some strong opinions about “junior.” Before you bring junior home, set up a separate room with all the essentials-litter, food, toys — and be prepared to keep him there for several days. If you know what type of food and litter he is used to, have that ready.

Cats have a highly sensitive nose so put something which your current cat’s smell on it in junior’s room, and vice versa. Let both cats sniff under the door at first and do not force any get-togethers please. Contact should be brief and supervised, gradually increasing the time together. You will probably see some aggressive behavior to start but again, please be patient. It is also important not to change any of your current cat’s routines and give her plenty of praise and treats.

Keep separate food areas and litterboxes after they co-habitate; less temptation for trouble will exist. Hopefully they will be comfortable and respect each other’s space — they may even curl up together. I hope so and good luck! As always I welcome your comments and stories.

Good news! My new book, Cat Calls: Wonderful Stories and Practical Advice from a Veteran Cat Sitter with CAT FANCY editor Susan Logan is now available in stores and online. Please click here for more information.

Article Categories:
Cats · Health and Care