How to introduce cats
The most important part of introducing your new cat to your resident cat(s) is not to rush the process. Read our advice on how to ensure the introduction goes as smoothly as possible.
Introducing the cats to each other too quickly could cause a lasting bad first impression that may never be overcome. Many people assume that if their current cat has lived with another cat in the past, then everything will be fine when a new cat is introduced. This is not always the case, particularly if you have recently lost one of a very close pair of cats within the last six months.
Introducing cats to each other in three simple steps
Step 1: Give your new cat time to settle
Remember that your new cat needs time to settle so provide her with an area where she feels safe and can start to adjust to her new surroundings.
Keep your new cat in a separate room to begin with and ensure that there is no way that she can escape.
During this time give your new cat anything that your resident cat has slept or laid on and vice versa. This will make sure that each cat is getting used to the other's scent. To help your existing cat feel more secure, take a damp cloth and rub it over their scent glands (these are on the cheekbones and the pads of their paws). Then rub the cloth over areas where they feel relaxed, such as windowsills, near radiators and certain chairs. This should be done at least twice a day and will reassure your cat that they can still smell their own scent in the areas that are important to them.
Your resident cat may lurk outside the room where the new cat is staying and sniff under the door. This building up of curiosity may mean it is actually a relief when the cats first get to see each other.
Step 2: Let them catch a glimpse
After a day or so, when your new cat has settled, try wedging the door open an inch so they can glimpse each other. If that seems to go well, then you can move on to the next step.
Once settled (this could take a few days), allow your new cat time out of the room so that she can familiarise herself with her new surroundings. Ensure that your old cat cannot meet them during this time.
Step 3: Relaxed first meeting
Ideally, you should make the initial introductions with your new cat in a large pen, but if this is not possible, have a friend or family member on hand to help. Your friend should open the door to your new cat's room whilst you are with your existing cat in another room or some distance away. Watch the cats to see how they interact and if all is calm, reward them with a tasty treat.
As time goes on, each cat will begin to adjust to the other. Any forcing or rushing on your part will only make the situation more stressful and the settling in process will be prolonged. Some cats become best friends and others will merely learn to tolerate each other.
If you feel that your cats are not getting on, thenget in touch with usfor further advice.