Cats can be very territorial, but heres some tips on how to introduce them to each other so they can become lifelong friends. Your older cat is slowing down a bit and even though she still has some great years left, you’d like to get another cat as well. You know your current cat is Ok with other animals, but what can you expect when you introduce a new cat into your household?
You may not realize it, but even cats who have been together for years can exhibit aggressive behavior when one is removed from the house for a couple of days. So if you have two cats and goes into the vet for a 2 day visit, you may have to start at square one when he returns to your house. Luckily, there are some techniques you can use to deal with such behavior.
First off, it’s important to understand that cats are extremely territorial. They will easily consider an entire house their territory whether it’s 1000 square feet or 5000.
When first introducing a new or returning cat back into the home, give him a small section of the house just for himself. Make sure it is secluded from the rest of the house and give him his own food and water dishes as well as litter box. This allows the original cat to have ‘ownership’ of most of the home while allowing both cats to become familiar with each other’s scent.
If the secluded area can be viewed through a glass door (such as a sunroom) the cats will also have opportunity to view each other without physical contact.
It is important to avoid ANY aggressive acts on the part of either cat.
Gradually introduce them into a common area by letting them eat and play together a bit each day. This will allow them to get used to each other and associate the pleasant feeling of being fed and playing with the other cat. The cats should not be allowed in the same area at any other time.
At first you may want to have them eat at a good distance from each other with some barrier such as cages or harnesses. This will prevent any attacks or retreating.
Make sure that they do focus on eating. If they are not eating then they are still having too much anxiety. Try using a larger distance to separate them. You can also try using a spray like Feliway which is a synthetic pheromone spray. It has not yet been proven, but it is supposed to replicate the natural cat pheromone that is friendly and may calm anxiety when sprayed around the home.
Once the cats are happy to eat or play separately and at a distance but in the same area, than you might try rubbing the cats with the same towel to mingle their scents – or switch their cages and let them get used to each others scent.
Introducing 2 cats to each other does require patience. Slow progress is best for a good outcome. Gradually make the distance between them less and less. Make sure someone is always there to watch the cats when they are in the same area. Once you can see that there is no aggressive behavior between the two cats, you can relax and try to let them both roam freely.
Spending the time to get your 2 cats used to each other will be well worth the efforts as your old pet will have found a new friend that can comfort both you and him.