However, bringing a new cat into the household may be a very stressful experience for all of the existing felines, despite the fact that it can be a highly joyous occasion for us humans. If it is not dealt with properly, the outcome might be catastrophic! You may make that adjustment much smoother and have a better chance of successfully integrating an extra kitty into your family if you implement the following tips below.
- Ensure that your current cat receives a great deal of attention during the remainder of this process, including regular exercise (try a cat aerobics or cat dancer toy). Your seasoned feline will be reassured by this knowledge that his or her place in your devotion will not be taken by another animal.
- Make sure that the two cats have set feeding times that coincide with one another.
- Under no circumstances should you physically hold the cats or bring them face to face with one another. That is a foolproof method for inciting aggressive behavior! Even cats are not known for their forgiving nature. If they get off to the incorrect beginning, it will be extremely difficult to restore the harm that has been done.
- Always be sure to have an alternate litterbox that is situated in a separate area. If you have more than two cats, you need to give at least one box for each of those additional cats. In order to avoid territorial conflicts over this very valuable resource, this measure is being taken. It is important to remember to clean the boxes every day in order to promote proper use of the litterbox.
STEP ONE: Isolate the New Cat in a separate, confined space of its own.
This is going to be the “playpen” for your new cat as well as their secure space. The perfect place for your new cat’s room maybe your bathroom, a tiny office, or a small bedroom that your current cat does not often use as a “hang out” spot.
The new cat should get its own room with a litterbox, bed, food, water, a scratching post, and some toys. This unique space is capable of achieving a number of goals. One, it lessens the likelihood that any infections that your new cat may be harboring will be passed on to your other cats (remember to keep your new cat confined for approximately ten days even if you are able to complete the following steps in a lesser time period). Two, it allows your new cat to get used to the environment, including the sights, noises, and you, without the stress of having to deal with a “hostile” welcome party (your existing cat).
In a separate part of the home, give the cat you already have his own litterbox, bed, toys, and whatever else he could need. Ignore him when he goes into the room where your new cat is, when he sniffs under the door, when he yells, and when he goes inside the room. At this stage, you should not discipline him in any manner for hissing or snarling at you. Simply turn away from him and go away. When he is in a tranquil state, pay attention to him.
STEP TWO: Make Use of Dishes That Have a Scent
After your new cat has been confined for several days and has not been acting nervous or hiding from you, take a small washcloth, rub it on your new cat, and then place it under your “old” cat’s food dish just before feeding time. This should be done after your new cat has been confined for several days. Now, turn that strategy around for the new cat. If one of your cats is picky about what they eat, you might try luring them to their food by placing something very unique in their dish. (Alternatively, move the washcloth to a location farther away from his dish so he may eat in peace. Over the course of the following several days, gradually move the washcloth closer and closer to his dish until you are eventually able to place it there without any resistance.)
Repeat this process at each feeding, continually refreshing the smell by rubbing it on the opposing cat, until each cat eats in a peaceful manner, without hesitating, snarling, or hissing at any point throughout the meal. The process will go forward more quickly if you give it additional feedings on a daily basis. Simply provide food in more frequent but lesser portions throughout the day. Make it a goal to give your pet at least two feedings a day, and much better, three or more.
In some cats, it may take up to two weeks for this stage to be successfully completed, while in others, it may take as little as four days. In any event, you should not proceed until each of the cats is calm.
STEP THREE: Make sure to provide many little feedings.
Once step three has been successfully completed, move each cat’s dish to the other side of the newcomer’s room from where it was originally located. Once again, ensure that each cat receives a predetermined food at the exact same moment on the other side of their door. There is no longer a need for you to place the perfumed cloth below the dish.
Repeat this step until BOTH of the cats are behaving normally, which includes not showing any signs of reluctance to eat, hissing, growling, or spitting, and then go on to step four.
You may also speed up this process by playing with each cat beneath the door on a regular basis using an exercise toy designed specifically for cats (a rubber pom-pom-looking spider on a wire). They will put their paws beneath the door in order for the others to see and smell them while they are playing with each other. It’s possible that this will encourage them to participate in play beneath the door with one another as well.
STEP FOUR: Play the swap game.
If you are beginning this phase, double confirm that you have had your new cat for a minimum of 10 days before proceeding. Continue on with step three until it has been at least 10 days since you moved on to the next phase. This is done out of repeated worries about the probable spread of illness. Do not be concerned if it has been more than ten days and you have not yet reached this stage! Move at the speed of your cat. If you maintain a calm and usual demeanor, your cat will indicate that it is time for you to go to the next stage.
In the fourth step, the smell of the new cat is spread across the territory of the current cat, but no real physical encounter takes place between the two. Do not skip over this step since it is really crucial.
Put your elderly cat in a place where he may be comfortable, and provide him with some of his favorite food, and a litterbox. Simply opening the door to the new cat’s chamber will allow it to go out and explore its surroundings. We don’t want you to carry him out because we want him to figure out how to go to and from his room on his own four feet as soon as possible. Permit him to go about for a few hours while you keep an eye on him. Engage in some lighthearted banter with him and help him loosen up. The next step is to lock him up in his room and then let your “old” cat outside. Your current cat could roam about the home sniffing, hissing, or snarling since he can now undoubtedly scent that “intruder” in all areas of HIS house. It’s not a problem. Let him sulk while you go about your business. Ignore him completely or attempt to engage him in some kind of activity with you so that you can assist him to relax.
Continue playing the swap game once per day until BOTH of your cats are behaving normally and are calm.
STEP FIVE: Limited Contact.
Assuming that step four was completed without incident, the fifth and last phase of this process requires you to return your new cat to the room he previously occupied. Because of this procedure, the cats will be able to see one another, but they will not come into direct touch with one another.
Place two high-tension gates (baby gates) with a combined height of 36 inches in the newcomer’s entryway, leaving a gap of about two inches at the very bottom. (Enough for a paw to fit beneath, but not enough for ahead.) There are pet businesses, children’s specialist stores, and even department stores that sell gates for your home. You might even attempt to borrow some from your other buddies.
Use a pair of sturdy doorstops made of plastic or metal if you have any cause to assume that either cat will be able to climb over the gates. Cram the door of the room with the stops, one on each side, leaving just a space of two or three inches open between the door and the jamb. Make it a point to check that none of the cats’ heads will fit through the hole. Verify that the door is locked and that it will not abruptly open or slam shut if an angry cat’s body crashes against the door. They need to be able to poke each other in the paws and inspect without coming into full-body contact with one another. To reiterate, a cat exercise toy positioned through the aperture in the door might be used to entice the cats to play through the opening.
Continue the practice of feeding the cats as described in step four above, but make sure that each cat remains on its own side of the baby gates or the jammed door. Close the door while you are not at home or when you are unable to at least partially observe the situation. Before moving on to step six, you should make sure that hissing, snarling, and posturing are at an absolute minimum.
STEP SIX: Have them interact in an informal setting.
You are in a good position to now simply let the cats casually locate each other in the home once you have successfully completed ALL of the processes that were outlined above.
To begin, you should give each of your cats a vigorous workout on their own, starting with the youngest and most active of the bunch. If one of the animals wants to play so strongly that it harasses the other cat, then it is likely that they will not get along for very long.
The next step is to ensure that each cat’s feeding dish is stocked with a delectable treat, such as chunks of tuna or a spoonful of wet food. Just before mealtime, either open the entrance to the new cat’s enclosure or remove the baby gates that have been piled. After allowing the cats to discover each other in a casual manner, provide them with food such that they are eating about one foot apart from one another.
The next step is to acquire a toy for the cats and play with them together, so go ahead and grab one. The purpose of the whole of step six is to condition your mind to link something really pleasurable with the presence of this other cat.
Some of the cats could run away, and there might be some hissing or growling to start. It’s not a problem. Let them sort it out between themselves as long as neither party is going all out with a physical assault on the other. Continue making an effort to feed them close together and engage in the activities that they like most with them.
Conclusions and Remarks
- Do not allow even one of the cats to develop a bad attitude.
Always keep an eye on how your cats behave with one another, especially if one of them seems to be the dominant one. If there is a chance of a fight breaking out, you should be prepared with a squirt bottle that can be turned on to a steady stream. Just be sure it’s not a game and not an act of harassment! If you are experiencing trouble with cats fighting among themselves, you should never leave all of the cats together alone. When you can’t keep an eye on the bully, put them in solitary confinement.
- Before allowing the aggressor and the victim to interact, you should attempt to exercise the aggressor more vigorously.
This often removes the “edge” off the situation and makes the aggressor more amenable. The unruly one may also be restrained by wearing a harness and trailing a leash that is six feet long while being watched. The harness will allow you to remove him from the precarious position more swiftly. Again, you should make an effort to link something pleasant, such as extra treats or playtime, with the presence of the other cat.
It is VERY IMPORTANT that you go all the way back to the beginning and begin over if you have not followed the directions very attentively. Be aware that the introduction may take up to three times as long the second time around since you will need to go back and attempt to fix the “poor first impression” you made the first time. It takes a lot of time, effort, and patience to successfully integrate a new family pet of any kind. If you take your time and carefully follow the instructions that were outlined above, everything should go off without a hitch. But don’t hurry things or expect things to be great the first day, since if you do, you can wind up with enemies instead of friends who are your closest confidants! We hope that everything goes well for you!