Introducing a new cat to your pets
Introducing new pets to existing ones takes time, patience… and courage. It doesn’t always go as smoothly as you’d like. Here are some ways you can help the trust-building process between your new cat and other pets.
You’re excited to bring your new cat home but a little anxious about how your other pets will react. In your dreams you imagine them as best friends, but it doesn’t always go so smoothly…
While you can’t force your pets to get on, there are some tips and tricks you can use to reduce the chances of fur flying.
Take it slowly
Cats aren’t the most sociable of creatures, so don’t expect them to fit in straight away. If you have other cats they might feel threatened and scared, while an excitable dog could terrify a nervous new kitten.
A slow and careful introduction is your best path to a peaceful co-existence.
Prepare a separate area of your home
To begin with, keep your new cat away from your existing pets – ideally in a spare room. Put everything they need in there, including a warm bed, food and water, a scratching post and a litter tray.
Keep them there for a few days while they settle into their new environment.
Introduce the new cat’s scent
To animals smells are everything so it’s important to get your pets used to each other's scent before they meet face-to-face.
A good tip is to use pheromone plug-in diffusers in rooms where your cats are living as these are designed to help them relax.
You could also swap the beds or blankets your pets use to transfer their scent. Allow each pet to investigate the other’s bed before they meet.
Conduct tentative face-to-face meetings
Once you’re confident your pets are relaxed in each other’s areas, you can start the face-to-face introduction process.
Introducing your cat to another cat: Keep one cat secure in a carrying basket while allowing the other to explore and sniff the basket. Don’t be alarmed if there’s some hissing and fluffed up fur – that’s normal. You may need to repeat this process a few times until they become comfortable around one another.
Introducing your cat to a dog: Keep your dog on a lead as you allow your pets to explore each other. Reward your dog for calm behaviour – an overexcited animal can scare a kitten, while a frightened cat may lash out with its claws. Make sure your cat has somewhere high up to escape to if they feel uncomfortable.
In a perfect world, your pets will become best friends. However, it could be that they merely tolerate one another. If you find they’re continually acting aggressively, you might have to seek advice from an animal behaviourist.
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