Introducing a new cat into a home with other cats can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to mean the start of World War 3 either. By taking it easy and step-by-step, you can successfully introduce them to each other.
Keep the peace
Allow the cats in the home to become accustomed to the presence of a new cat without direct confrontation. Often unrelated cats can tolerate each other without conflict, as long as there are enough resources available to them without having to compete for them. This includes clean water, food, a place to hide, elevated surfaces and enough space to roam, as well as a litterbox for each cat and one extra. If you can give them this, the chances of them living together in peace are better.
Take it slowly
Don’t rush anything. If there is too much contact too soon, it will overwhelm the cats and may lead to aggressive or defensive behaviour. You will have to desensitise each party to the presence of the other. Allow the cats access to the different parts of the house on a time-share basis. This way, their scents will be transferred, and they can gradually get used to the other cat’s scent.
Access to resources
Cats will often only eat together if they are related or if they grew up together. Place their food, water and litterboxes in separate areas around the house. This will reduce the need for contact.
Supervise them, with lots of praise, until you can leave them alone for short periods without conflict. If they get stuck into each other and cause physical harm, consult a reputable behaviourist who can help to facilitate successful cohabitation.
Would you like to read more pet-related articles that are educational? Order a copy of Animaltalk magazine at www.coolmags.co.za/.