Introducing a new cat can be tricky or the process can be a piece of cake. The most common answer to this question is to isolate the new cat from your other cat for a few days until they get acquainted through their scent and their presence. However, there is more to this story than expecting an immediate successful outcome.
What Does this Experienced Crazy Cat Lady Say about How to Introduce Multiple Cats?
If you are or have been a human parent to more than one cat, you know right off the bat that when you bring home a new cat, and you already have a cat, or two, or three, they may not just shake paws and become friends.
There may be a big catfight and a lot of hissing. There may be nothing more than a bit of nose sniffing and rubbing.
Every seasoned cat parent knows there is always a dominant cat in the family. This cat struts its stuff and shows all the other cats they are the head-honcho and are in charge of that household, and these other cats had better not forget it.
If the boss cat should, unfortunately, pass on or be adopted by another home, you had better believe another cat will be standing in line to take its place.
When you compare the human race to the feline race, we are similar in that we are all either leaders or followers. We all need a leader to guide and direct us, and cats are no different.
I have been a mama to over 40 cats. From day one, I have meshed new felines with other cats that have been in the house for years. I used to fret about bringing new cats into the household because cats are not creatures of change.
- Anticipate a few catfights.
- Anticipate a disruption in the balance of your home for a few days.
- Give your cats time to adjust to this change.
According to different cat experts, there are many ways to introduce your new cat to your resident cat.
Most cat experts say to leave your cat in a small pen with the following for a few days until your resident cat and the new cat become used to each other’s scent. Then gradually allow the new cat out for short intervals.
- A bed
This Is What I Do
I may leave a new cat in its carrier for several minutes so scents are passed around, as this is how I introduce multiple cats in my home. I currently have six fur babies.
I learned early on that cats will either get along or avoid each other. I always have one or two who cannot stand each other, so they avoid each other, much like I would avoid a person I was not particularly eager to confront.
Cats go out of their way to avoid another cat that they do not like.
A little over six years ago, I saved two cat sisters.
Isabella and Sophia are devoted to each other. I call them my Twisted Sisters.
These sisters pay little attention to each other unless another cat picks on either one of them. Then the other sister comes to the rescue and chases the naughty cat away with a loud hissing.
These sisters hissed their way into my home, and they continued to hiss if another cat came near them. Sometimes the sisters hiss at each other. Neither has claws, so the best they can do is slap each other or another cat with a soft paw and hiss. (Please, never declaw your cat)
I referenced trusted websites throughout the years on how to introduce multiple cats. The tips were helpful. However, I never followed any of them exactly.
- Jackson Galaxy, the cat whisperer
- The SPCA
- The Humane Society
All these websites say the same thing, which is what I already do.
Some websites like Jackson Galaxy add a few more steps, some less, so it is up to what works for you.
Use common sense.
A Heartbreaking Cat Rescue
Ten years ago, the Humane Society and Animal Control rescued 72 cats from a home near our city.
The owner could not say no to any needy cat, which got him into trouble when he developed stage IV liver cancer and could no longer care for those cats.
The Humane Society, in conjunction with Animal Control, rescued all 72 cats and set up a massive sunny, pleasant room at the Humane Society with windows all around the room and ledges where the cats could sit.
Litter pans lined every square inch of space around the room under the windows. In the center were many tables with open cat carriers, boxes, and blankets.
After their physical and vaccinations, all 72 cats were released into this room, where they stayed until adoption. There was no adaptation process. Surprisingly, all the cats seemed to get along well.
Each cat claimed its own small territory. Others roamed and rested at will wherever they felt secure and comfortable.
What Do the Professional Cat Experts Say about How to Introduce Multiple Cats?
Most experts recommend the following,
- Put your new kitty in a room or in a moderate-sized pen inside the house.
- Place all its necessities inside and close the door for a few days.
- Gradually introduce your new kitty to the other cat before allowing them to be together.
- During this time, give personal contact time to your new cat. It is vital to have human contact.
I find nothing wrong with the idea of introducing new cats in this way. However, I never did this and never ran into any significant problems.
I found that the newcomer would pick a part of the house and claim it as their area. If any other cat came close, the new one would hiss and scare the intruder away.
Steps to Follow on How to Introduce Multiple Cats
All six of a cat’s senses are ten times greater than yours or mine, especially their sense of smell.
It is vital to let each cat exchange its scent with one another. Cats may rub their noses together or the other cat’s hiney. This is all normal. Exchanging its scent is the cat’s way of communicating and introducing itself.
I will admit that bringing a new cat home and dropping it into the living room among your other pets can be a recipe for disaster.
If you do this, you need to watch all your pets like a hawk.
- I think it is better to fix up a solo space for your cat to live in for a few days so your other cats can get used to each other.
- Make sure your new cat has a litter box, bed, toys, fresh food, and water daily.
- I always played soft music to help comfort the soul, and it worked!
- Give your new cat frequent play time and human contact several times a day. You want your other cat(s) to smell the new cat’s scent on you.
- I used a double baby gate between the doorways so the new kitty could observe what was happening in the house and the other pets could not enter the room.
Your cat will be unable to jump over if you use one gate on top of the other.
The baby gate had small enough openings that no pet could get through, but the cats could exchange scents and sniff each other out without harming one another.
- Do not allow these cats to be around each other without supervision.
- Once each cat is comfortable, put your resident cat in the room and allow your new cat the freedom to roam the house.
- If both continue to eat and drink well and there is no hissing, it may be time to allow both cats to roam freely.
- If the cats are not adapting, you must repeat the process and have patience while giving each cat plenty of love and attention.
- Be aware that these two cats may never get along and feel the need to hiss at each other.
- If your cats get into physical fights and cannot adapt, then you may have to find another home for your new cat.
- If you have to leave your cats unsupervised and you do not yet trust them to be together, it is best to separate them until you return to ensure they remain safe.
All the cats I have had over the years tolerated each other. They either ignored, enjoyed, or interacted by playing and sleeping together. Some continued to hiss at each other.
It is a serious decision whether you should bring a new cat into your home where there are already resident cats.
Think about this decision closely and read about the best way to introduce multiple cats.
All family members must agree to help each other introduce a new cat to the resident cat, and if you follow what the professionals say, these two cats could become best friends forever.