How to Introduce a New Cat Into Your Household
June is not only Adopt a Shelter Cat Month but also marks the height of kitten season, the result of increased feline breeding this time of year. Animal shelters and rescues overflow with cats of all ages and personalities, but with one common trait—they’re all looking for a forever home.
So, you’ve been sucked in by an adorable little whiskered face and added a new kitten to the household. Introducing your new cat to your current cat will likely be a challenge, but Quinebaug Valley Veterinary Hospital has outlined basic steps for introducing cats, to make your task easier.
Step 1: Create separate resource areas for each cat
Your new cat and your current cat should have separate areas stocked with all their necessities—litter box, food, water, bedding, and enrichment options. Ideally, you should keep the new cat behind a closed door at first, to allow your two cats to sniff each other under the door as they acclimate.
Step 2: Swap bedding to exchange each cat’s scent
Once your new cat has settled into your home, swap a piece of bedding to exchange scents, which offers the cats a low-stress, non-confrontational “meeting.”
Step 3: Allow exploration of each cat’s area
Put one cat in a carrier in a different room, and allow the other cat to explore new territory and the scent markers left behind.
Step 4: Allow visual contact
Use a gate, glass door, or mesh door covering to allow your cats to see each other, but have no contact. Feed each cat treats or a high-value food, so they form a positive association with seeing each other.
Step 5: Allow supervised physical contact
Once your cats appear calm, remove the barrier, and allow a physical meeting. Slowly work up to longer supervised periods, and then practice leaving your cats unsupervised for brief times. With patience and perseverance, your kitties will become best friends.
Congratulations on adopting a new shelter kitty! We’d love to meet your new feline friend, and perform a physical exam to ensure they’re in tip-top shape. Give us a call to schedule an appointment.