How to Add a New Cat to Your Feline Household - Part 1
Spring is the time for new beginnings! Gardens are being planted, flowers are blooming and kittens are everywhere!!!! Lots of us are considering expanding our feline families and bringing a new cat, young or not so young, to join the ones that we already have.
This is a very exciting time. But, it is important to know that not all cats are destined to be best friends and playmates. In fact, sometimes the addition of a new cat can disrupt a cat household in very negative ways. So, the most important thing that you can do is take the process slow and steady and set your feline family up for success.
Before my study of feline behavior and veterinary medicine, I thought that you welcomed a new cat into your home by opening up the carrier, and letting the new cat enter the group of resident cats all at once (hoping for the best.) Now I know that it is not so easy and this type of “all at once” introduction is too overwhelming for both the new cat and the resident cats.
1- Slow and steady is best - Cats like to become familiar with their environment gradually. When you bring your cat home, confine him/her to one room. Make sure that doors close well and that your windows and screens are secure to prevent an escape while he/she is getting used to her new home. Let the resident cats get to know the new cat under the door between the two rooms where they are now.
2- Hanging out together - I know you will want to spend lots of time with your new cat. This is a special time for just the two of you to bond. But, be slow and steady with your affection as you two are getting to know each other. You should also use fun toys, like fishing pole toys or lasers, to have active play time together.
3- All of the comforts of home - Now that you’ve chosen your new cat’s bedroom, you can “decorate” to give him/her all that he/she needs in her indoor environment to be happy. Cats like to climb and hide, so outfitting her room with a cat tree, scratching post and plenty of safe sleeping spots will add to her feeling of safety and security. It’s worth taking a minute to address the necessities. If possible, two litter boxes that are placed in separate locations are best. Cats prefer their toilet in a separate location than their food and water. This is a lot to ask of one room, but if you get clever, you can usually make it work. For instance, you could put the food and water on different parts of the cat tree.
4- Smiling Happy Pheromones - For some extra good feelings, you could use happy cat pheromones to enhance your new kitty’s contentment. Cats use chemical messengers, called pheromones, to communicate. You can buy happy cat pheromones (Feliway) to use in the chosen room.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of How to add a new cat to your feline household. To receive a email when this blog is posted, sign up at the orange button below.
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