How To Introduce A New Cat To Former Cats and Help Them Get Along

Since you’re a pet owner thinking about adding a second kitty to your home, you’ll want to understand how to expose cats properly. And besides, felines can be aggressive against other felines, particularly if they haven’t been taught how to behave with them throughout their socialization phase, which lasts between 2 and 7 weeks.

Adding a new kitten home, on the other hand, might set off your old feline’s personal anxiety switch, which can lead to conflict. You can manage this journey with some understanding of feline body signals and temperament and also being supportive and a bit patient.

how to introduce a new cat to for mer cats
Image credit: Adina Voicu from Pixabay

So, How to introduce a new cat to former cats? What’s the best way to help them get along? Here’s what to do to establish the solid basis for a lifelong cat companionship.

Are These Cats a Match?

When you consider ways to introduce your felines to one another, you need to have an honest check at each one to see if it’s a wise decision to do otherwise. Take these points into consideration:

1. Cat breed

Certain cat breeds seem to be more social than the rest. Study the breeds of your felines to see how feasible they are to get comfortable with each other—and how extensive training it would need to want them to live happily.

2. Size

When one of your felines is considerably bigger than another, aggression or damage may be more likely. For sure, there will always be exceptions; however, when it concerns carefully introducing these feline buddies, size matters.

hwo to introduce new cat to former cats
Image credit: Nihal Karkala on Unsplash

3. Socialization background

If your feline is extremely-friendly and engages with other pets respectfully, they’re inclined to act likewise around any new feline in your household. If your feline is afraid of other pets or has never been socialized with them, then a new pet could be frightening to them, contributing to violent behavior.

4. Past encounters

If your kitty also has a violent or distressing encounter with another cat, she could be scared of an unknown feline in their environment.

5. Energy level

A high-energy feline, for instance, might not have been the ideal match for such a low-energy feline, and likewise.

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Supplies for Introducing Cats

When you start cat interactions, ensure you have all these stocks available:

  • Gate for pets
  • Sheets or towels
  • Catnip or snacks for cats
  • Two tip or teaser games
  • A camera for your pet (optional)

If you really have taken the commitment to buy a new feline, the initial task once you come back home would be to restrict the new kitten to a private room. Choose a space that your current feline does not visit often, and you too do not require regular access, such as a guest room or studio.

Ascertain that the new feline’s room includes the following items:

These products should either be fresh new or ones that arrived with the feline. It’s never a smart option to utilize a few of your current feline’s items since they’ll smell like your current feline, making your new kitten feel anxious at a point when you’re attempting to let it thrive in its unfamiliar setting. Similarly, lowering the number of items your present feline has (for example, losing a litter dish) may induce anxiety.

How to introduce a new cat to former cats
Image credit: rihaij from pixabay

Allow adequate time for your new feline to adjust to the habits of its new house and the ones who stay there as well as for your new feline’s smell to adjust in your home. It is what will happen:

  • Constantly by clawing its scratching pole and pressing the smell gland regions on its cheeks against items and the edges of the ceilings.
  • Reactively, by your feline napping, relaxing, and having fun with toys on their bed.
  • Food
  • Water
  • Beds and peaceful resting spaces
  • Places to hide
  • Toys
  • Litter box
  • Scratching poll

This adjustment phase might last anything from a few days to a month or so based on the feline. The following are indicators that your newborn feline feels at ease throughout its new surroundings:

  • Even before you walk into the space, welcoming traits like approaching, stroking all over your legs, chirping, twitching, and meowing are expressed.
  • Flipping over or even lying on its back with its stomach revealed.
  • It’s having fun with its stuff.
  • It rubs its face against the couches, the edges of the surfaces, and other things in the space.
  • Feeding, bathing, cleaning, and personal care are all normal actions.

If your newest feline appears to be dissatisfied by being confined in a private area, you might also want to give it extra space like a hallway or a separate bedroom where your current feline does not have an entrance area. If this isn’t doable, it’s probably best to begin the introduction phase early.

The following are examples of indications of distress caused by confinement:

  • Scraping or nibbling at the entrance and the space around it, as well as the glass
  • Meowing continuously for longer periods
  • Progressively moving in front of the door
  • Arriving at the doorway
  • Whenever you attempt to escape the room, they claw at you.

How to Introduce Cats?

Before you start, let’s establish some ground rules: The procedure of introducing felines is not quick. In reality, some felines might take weeks or even months to become familiar with one other, while other sets of felines may not be willing to interact happily.

To increase your possibilities of succeeding, make these changes at your feline’s speed, rather than hurrying either of them. Stop for a moment and return to the last stage if either feline exhibits the following indications of anxiety:

  • Crouching
  • Back curved
  • Ears folded as the tail is tucked in
  • In a horizontal position (trying to flee)
  • Hiding
  • Hissing

Note that proceeding too rapidly through these phases might cause your felines to get stressed, prompting you to restart the procedure from the beginning.

1. Start by totally separating them

Provide your new feline their own space, complete with nutrition, water, a waste container, a scratching pole, and toys. Lock the door tight so your second feline can’t go in, and also be cautious while opening it to avoid any unexpected surprises.

A cat entrance in the hallway connecting their rooms is also a smart option to prevent unexpected interactions as you travel from one area to the next. This phase is all about establishing a foundation feeling of convenience for both felines before going on to something more direct contact.

Allow your felines a day or so to adapt to the changing surroundings before proceeding to the following stage.

2. Scent exchange

Your felines would be able to sniff each other across the door, as well as sensations from you. Encourage the felines to feel your fingertips and garments as you engage with them enough that they become familiar with one another’s scents.

You may also wipe cloth or sheet all-around one feline before putting that on the ground for each other to investigate. Let your felines come and smell each cloth after sprinkling favorite goodies or catnip (assuming your felines enjoy catnip). These would aid in the formation of a strong link between your felines’ scents. This cloth game should be played on a daily basis.

3. Change their rooms

Allow the felines to explore one other’s areas while actually separating them with a locked door. Continue to focus on each feline as they travel about the other’s area. Allow the felines to roam for some hours or perhaps a whole day.

Allow multiple felines to smell each other beneath the door once more, and keep an eye out for signals that one of them is distressed. You’ll be watching for any unpleasant speech patterns, like snarling and screaming, because there’s a barrier separating them. Return to the last phase if you notice or listen to either feline exhibiting these indications of distress.

4. Encourage them to play close to the door

It’s the moment to create a connection if you haven’t seen any indicators of distress for approximately 24 hours and don’t unlock the entrance yet anyway. Motivate one feline to paw at a string stick close the door. To get the second feline to come over, place a string stick beneath the entrance.

Let the feline’s paw at their toys, slowly opening them up towards the door’s bottom. If room permits, engage the felines to play a “hide-and-seek” game with each other’s toes below the doorway.

If both felines hiss, snarl, meow, or strike with power, it’s an indication that they’re angry. Return to the last step if such indicators appear.

5. Let them see one another

If the rope game experiment goes well, it’s time to introduce the felines to one another. Let the felines peep through a crack in the doorway. When they initially see each other, you could hear a bit snarling or growling. Draw their focus away from one another giving them an item to play with. Return to the last phase if snarling or growling continues regardless of your diversions.

Treats, compliments, and caressing are appropriate if the felines show no symptoms of irritation. Attempt to persuade them simultaneously to paw at a rope stick at the same time. Let the felines smell and view one another for brief periods of time, roughly 5-10 minutes for 3-5 times during the day if they stay relaxed.

6. Let them interact from different rooms

Once the felines stay relaxed when they notice one another across the entrance, it’s safe to unlock the door. If you didn’t do anything like this, now is the moment to install a feline flap in the entrance so the felines can view one other quite closely without coming into physical touch.

Begin by interacting for brief amounts of time, slowly increasing the duration of each encounter. Look for gentle physical contact, winking, and lifted tails as they engage across the gate—all indicators that they have been feeling affectionate.

You may use 2 different toys, 1 for every feline, and let them interact on both areas of the barrier if both felines show these symptoms. Keep an eye out for calm body posture. There must be no snarling, roaring, and every other apparent signal of anxiety or hostility (ears drawn backward, dilated pupils, hunched attitude). If you observe these indicators, try distracting your felines with such a play; if that doesn’t work, go repeat step one.

Allow the felines to socialize for 1-2 days across the door. It’s acceptable to go onto the following phase if they keep relaxed.

7. Let them meet directly

Disable the cat fence and keep a close eye on the kids. If the felines start looking closely at one another, divert them with a game or a constant noise, such as clapping.

Allow the felines to socialize in reality 3-5 times daily for 5-10 minute periods. Reduce the time spent interacting with one of the felines if she seems stressed or afraid. If aggressiveness appears, split the felines and return to the last stage.

Even if everything goes smoothly throughout these short meetings, isolate the felines for at least 5-7 days and oversee any contacts. Increase the duration of each activity by 15 minutes at a time. If both of them are acting nicely, you may walk out of the room on occasion, keeping an eye out for hostile indications.

8. Let the felines spend some time alone without you

You could actually leave them in the house alone for brief amounts of hours around 7-10 days with no symptoms of anxiety or hostility. You may set a pet monitor to keep an eye on the felines while you’re away; however, keep in mind that if either feline has shown any signs of distress or aggression, it’s better to keep felines apart while you’re not there.

However, if they seem to enjoy well, slowly increase the duration of contact the newest feline may spend alone with the existing feline. They’ll ultimately be happy around all the time.

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Final Thought

Expose each existing feline to the newbie separately if you’re adding a new feline into a family with many felines already. You may consider allowing every feline to socialize as a team once every feline has encountered the newest feline one-on-one.

If your felines are comfortable in their surroundings, they are more inclined to like each other. Start by looking at how your house is set up. Ensure your felines have lots of places to hide. Some cats prefer sitting on bookshelves and seats in kitty houses. Disturbed felines, however, will hide beneath and behind objects, so ensure there are plenty of hiding places at ground level.

References and Further Reading

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