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Whether you are adopting a new cat or fostering a cat or two you will need to introduce your new cats to your resident cats. While this is fun for the owner it can be very stressful for the cats. Proper preparation can help ease this transition for everyone. Here are our tips on how to introduce cats to each other while keeping them as happy as possible.
Make sure you have one of each of the essentials for each cat. Two litter boxes are necessary and if feasible they should be in different places. Also make sure the food and water dishes are in totally separate areas so they do not compete for resources. Adding an extra cat bed is also not a bad idea so your new cat does not borrow your resident cat’s favorite.
Stock Up On Treats
Your old cat walks by the new cat and does not hiss- have a treat. The new cat does not run away when the old cat comes in the room- have a treat. Reward BOTH cats every time they are nice, or at least are not fighting, chasing or hissing at each other. Giving them a treat during individual time with you or family members is also a great way to reinforce that they are special.
Give Them Places Be Alone
If someone came to your house unannounced and slept in your bed you would not be very happy. Neither will your cat. Make sure your resident cat can find places where they can be by themselves. Make sure to put their favorite cat bed in a place they can easily access. Put their cozy blanket next to you on the couch. You may also want to get your new cat a cat igloo or other enclosed structure. Cats love to hide and this will help your new cat acclimate to both your resident cat and your house.
Cat Toys for All
Distraction, Distraction, Distraction. Some new toys will keep the new cat occupied (especially if there is a kitten) and away from your current cat so that they have time to process their new friend. Be sure to grab your resident cats some toys too! We want to make sure your resident feels just as loved as always.
Cat trees are a great option because they double as a place for your cat to get away and a place for them to check out the new cat action without actually having to be in it. They can also be a fun place for the cats to play or at least get near each other (don’t forget to give them a treat when they do)
Stock Up On Pheromones
I am a huge fan of Feliway cat pheromones. I use the spray in the cat carrier and sprayed on the cat beds and have a diffuser in the area near the food. The pheromones have been shown to calm cats down and make them more relaxed. When we were adding kittens to my 15 year old’s solo life I also added a diffuser by her cat favorite (heated) cat bed and I think it really helped her with the transition.
Give Them Your Time
More than anything else both your your new and old cats need your love and attention. Make sure to leave room on your lap (both physically and metaphorically) for both cats! Be sure to remind any children and grandcatparents of this too because they tend to get wrapped up in “new kitty”.
Most of all make sure to keep your stress level low. It may take time but they will be able to learn to peacefully coexist or maybe even be friends!