Before you bring your new cat home, set up a safe room
for her. The safe room should have several hiding places
(they can be kitty igloos or just cardboard boxes lined with towels), her own litter box, a scratching post
or cat tree that she can climb, some toys, and bowls for food and water. The safe
room will not only provide your new cat with a safe place of her own until she
has adapted to and feels comfortable and secure in your home, it will also help your resident
cat feel that her territory hasn't been taken over by the new cat.
the doorway between the safe room and rest of your home with a net of some sort
(like a fishing or tennis net or ideally, 3 wire mesh pet gates (Gerry) stacked to
fill the doorway. Place the gates in the inside of the door frame so that the door can be
closed. This will allow the cats to smell each other but not see or
touch each other. The most important reason for keeping your new cat isolated and out of sight is so your resident
will not feel her territory has been violated.
When you bring your new cat
home, set the carrier in the corner of the safe room, open the door, place a
treat on the floor just outside the carrier, then leave the room. Your new cat may
or may not choose to leave the safety of her carrier. After you leave the room, she'll be
able to explore her new territory at her own pace and choose her own hiding places. Don't
try to force your new cat to come out of her carrier; let her come out on her own in her
own good time.
lots of attention to your resident cat but in a casual, non-aggressive way. Don't try to
comfort her by holding her. Engage your resident cat in an interactive play session, brush
her, feed her, or leave a new activity toy, such a paper shopping bag or catnip toy out
for distraction. She'll probably show little interest in anything but what's beyond that
closed door. She may sniff around the door, camp out in front of it, even hiss and growl.
Don't be alarmed-those are all normal reactions.
Depending on your cat's personality, it may take several days to adjust to the new cat
behind the door. When
you go in to feed or play with your new cat,
try to do it when
your resident cat is eating, sleeping, or in another room so your resident cat
doesn't sit outside the door feeling upset.
next step in the introduction of the two cats will involve scent. For this step you'll need a pair of socks.
Put one sock on your hand and rub your new cat down to get her scent all over it. Rub all
around her face, being sure to go along the sides of the mouth as these areas are rich in
scent glands. When you feel you've done a good rub-down (the cat will most likely enjoy it),
the scented sock in your resident cat's territory. Use the other sock to rub down your
resident cat and then leave that one in your new cat's safe room. This enables
the cats to begin getting familiar with each other's scents in a controlled,
non-threatening way. Yon can do this several times, using a few pairs of socks
|The most important
element in introducing new cats to resident cats is introducing one sense at a
time. Introducing two cats one sense at a time allows them to adapt to
each step of the introduction at their own pace and allows you to control the speed of
each phase. One sense at a time will allow you to avoid a feline sensory overload
and potential fights that could cause permenant damage to your cats' relationship.
After your resident cat has investigated the sock, reward her with a treat and/or
conduct an interactive play session so that the experience ends on a positive note.
the scented sock exchange has been going well for several days to a week, you can then
move on to the next step in the introduction process: the room exchange.
Let your cat investigate the new cat's room and let the new cat out to investigate the
rest of the house. This lets them do a more thorough scent investigation, including
checking out each other's litter box. About an hour of this is probably a long enough
time. Continue to do the room exchange a couple of times a day for about a week.
Now, if everything is going well and your resident cat is showing no signs of
aggression, the cats are ready for the big step! Open the door to the safe room so that
the cats can finally see, smell, and hear each other- and approach each other
closely enough to touch each other through the gates if they wish.. Be
casual about it but also be ready with tools for distraction such as treats or pieces of
special food such as shredded cooked chicken, to toss on the floor of each room . Having
treats also helps prevents the cats from becoming too negatively focused on each other and
helps them connect positive things with each other. If the cats become overly hostile to
each other, close the door and begin the process again the next day. Don't force any
step of the introduction process.
- Keep the cats separated in different rooms until they can
approach each other on opposite sides of the gates without showing signs of fear or
aggressiveness. Don't try to bring, force, or entice the cats to
come close to one another.
- Once you see that the cats don't hiss or growl when they see and
approach each other through the gates, begin placing their food and water bowls on the
opposite sides of gates as far away from the gates as possible but still within sight of
each other. Only later, when the cats are coming close to one another often without
showing signs of fear or aggression, the food bowls can be moved progressively closer to
the gates. Always let both cats decide for themselves how closely they approach one
- Don't take the
gates away until the cats have shown only normal, peaceful, friendly behavior when they
come in contact with one another through the gate - and they approach each other often and
eat with the bowls touching the gates without showing signs of fear or nervousness - for
several consecutive days.
- Once the cats begin sharing space in the house, keep the safe room set up for a
while so your new cat has a safe place of his own during initial disputes.
- Keep two litter boxes set up in different locations, not next to each other. This
way, if your resident cat is
feeling territorial, your new cat will have another place to go.
Screen Door Barrier
Max's House Main Index