Adding another kitty to your home? The Do’s and Don’ts
Are you one of those cat parents who think it’s time to bring another kitty into your home to provide your current furkid with companionship? If so, there are some things you’ll want to consider before you rush out and fall in love with an adorable kitten, rambunctious teenager or a sedate senior and bring it home to present to your resident cat. For starters, not all cats enjoy the company of other cats. Even cats that like or at least tolerate other kitties need time to adjust. Remember that song, “You Can’t Hurry Love.” The composer probably had a cat in mind.
Assuming your cat is social, you still want to consider your cat’s temperament and personality. If you have an active cat, a kitten might be the best choice as a potential playmate. If your cat is quiet or solitary, it may be best to adopt an adult.
Once you’ve decided on a new kitty, take things slowly to let the two get to know each other.
Keep new cat isolated
When you get your new cat home, keep it separate from your resident cat. It’s best to put the new cat in a separate room and keep the door closed. This way, the two cats can sniff at each other under the door to start to get to know each other.
Keep the cats separated this way for at the least the first week. The separation also gives you time to evaluate how well the new cat is adjusting to your home. Sometimes the stress of a new environment can bring on an upper respiratory infection or lead to bad litter box habits. As your new cats feels comfortable, these initial reactions – hopefully - will go away.
Making the introduction
Once your cats have had time to become familiar with each other’s scents, it’s time to officially introduce them to each other. Put your new cat into a carrier in the room it’s been in and let your resident cat enter. Don’t be alarmed if there’s hissing. If you are concerned the interaction will become aggressive, continue this controlled situation for some time. When it appears the cats are simply curious about each or cautious, let out the new cat. Don’t try to rush the introduction. Your cats need to get familiar with each other at their own pace.
Continue to monitor all interactions for the first few weeks. Don’t leave the cats alone unsupervised. This means keeping your new cat in the separate room when you are not around. After a few weeks, if all goes well, hopefully both cats will be comfortable with other and you and leave alone them together. If it looks like things are deteriorating, you’ll want to start the process again.
Sharing may be caring, but cats can be very proprietary about their “stuff.” Make sure your new cat has its own litter box along with separate food and even water bowls. This doesn’t mean that the cats may not end up sharing litter boxes eventually and drinking from the same water bowls, but let them work this out for themselves over time. You also should get another cat bed for your newcomer and might want to consider having two (if not more) scratching posts
With so many cats and kittens needing homes, you’ll be saving a life when you bring in a new cat. And you’ll be enhancing yours with more kitty love. That’s a real win/win.
If you have other questions about introducing your new cat to your current household, Whisker Warriors is happy to answer questions. Contact us.