Are you planning to introduce a new cat, kitten, or a puppy to your resident cat? Are you worried about how your resident cat will react to the new addition to your family? Will he be accommodative? Will they get along? How long will it take them to start getting along? These are common questions cat parents ask themselves when they are about to introduce a new pet to the family.
Introducing a new pet to your resident cat can be tough and nerve-wracking. However, it is doable and they will eventually get along. How you introduce them plays a great role in helping them get along. Thus, you need to be careful about how you introduce the new pet to your resident cat.
Read Also: What to Know Before Adopting a Kitten or Cat
Bringing a New Cat Home to Another Cat
Cats, unlike dogs, are not social creatures. Therefore, they can still function well and be happy even without a social structure around them. Additionally, cats are territorial animals.
Thus, it is very unlikely for cats to feel the need for a companion even if you wish to have another cat around. The truth is, you cannot force a cat to like another cat. However, some cats will get along with a newcomer easily while others may take some time before they get along.
Introducing kittens to cats
Introducing kittens to cats can be a bit smoother. This is because kittens are a lesser threat to resident adult cats. After all, they are still not sexually mature. However, it is important to get a kitten of the opposite sex to reduce competition. For instance, if your resident cat is a male, get a female kitten.
How to Introduce a Cat to a Resident Cat
1. Timing is key
While introducing a new cat, ensure that the resident cat is in a calm environment. A calm environment will give both cats reassurance and will help you concentrate on the cats.
2. Scent is important
Cats use their sense of smell in communication and their general wellbeing. Therefore, while introducing a new cat to your household, get him to the smell of the environment your resident cat is used to before introducing them. You can do this by petting both cats without washing your hands.
Pay attention to the area around the new cat’s head to gather scents using a soft cloth and rub the cloth on your furniture. Thus, your resident kitty will get used to the scent of the new cat even before they meet. However, keep them in separate rooms to get them to get used to each other even without meeting.
3. A carrier for introductions
Using a carrier for introduction helps both cats feel secure around each other. The new cat will not be chased by the resident cat and the resident cat will not feel threatened when you use a carrier for the introduction. Therefore, both cats will have a chance of meeting and seeing each other through the mesh and feel safe. Also, they will be able to sniff and maybe hiss at each other without getting into a physical fight and intimidating each other.
Additionally, when using a carrier for introduction, place it above the ground to avoid both cats getting into direct eye contact. Acceptance is gradual. They may hiss and spit at each other but with time they will start getting along.
4. Face to face meeting
When the time is right, let the two kitties face to face without the pen. You can do this by feeding them in the same room at the same time in different bowls at least 6 feet apart. Ensure that the room is escape-proof and there is no furniture to hide under. After you serve them food, observe their reaction towards each other, and judge whether it is the right time.
Also, keep reassuring them and reward good behavior with their favorite treats. When you are sure that they will not fight or chase each other, continue with the routines that will allow them to continue interacting. They will get used to each other and start to like each other.
5. Separate them
You must separate the cats before face to face meetings. Give the new kitty a space of their own where you place their food, water, litter box, and bed. Thus, the resident cat will start to smell the new cat through the door.
Moreover, to promote scent sharing, keep exchanging the cats’ beds and toys so that they get used to each other’s scent. After some time, start feeding the cats near the door to the secluded area. Thus, they will start associating each other with food and start getting along.
6. Ensure a slow introduction
If you notice that the cats can look at each other and not growl or hiss, start letting your new kitty out of their pen. However, the newcomer may go back to the pen very often until they adjust to the new environment. This, however, depends on the cat’s personality.
Also, you may realize that the cats may occasionally hiss at each other. However, as long as they are not hurting each other, it is not a call for alarm. It is probably the resident cat setting their boundaries.
7. Treat both parties equally
It is important to treat the newcomer and the resident cat as equals. This means that you spend time with both of them. Ensure that even after introducing a new cat to your home, your relationship with the resident cat does not get affected.
Thus, if it is feeding time, feed both cats at the same time. If it is playtime, make time to play with each cat. Hence, if one cat feels that you favor the other cat more than them, they will get jealous and never get along.
8. Quickly manage conflict
Cats’ friendships can be very unpredictable. You may find that cats who have been getting along start fighting all of a sudden. You can help reduce tension between cats by using calming collars.
Additionally, it is important to ensure that the conflict does not escalate to a fight. Therefore, if you see your cats start hissing at each other, separate them immediately and let them cool off. Pet each one of them and reassure them. If they fight and injure each other, they may never trust each other again.
How Long Does It Take for Cats to Get Along?
Some cats may take a few days to start getting along. Others, however, may take weeks or even months to start tolerating each other. Generally, cats need time and space to get along after you introduce them.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) states that cats need up to a year before they can become friends. This is because cats are territorial and very temperamental. Also, most cats love solitude and hate changes in their environment.
However, the time it will take your cats to start getting along depends on their personalities and other environmental factors. Therefore, it is important to make the introduction and the transition less stressful for your cat so that they can start getting along faster.
Factors to Consider Before Bringing a New Cat Home to Another Cat
1. The age of the cat
Kittens tend to socialize better than adult cats. Kittens can get along easily with other kittens, adult cats, and even dogs. Therefore, you will find it easier to introduce two kittens since they are of the same age group.
However, introducing a kitten to a senior cat is a bit tricky. This is because senior cats may find kittens too high spirited and more energetic than them. Senior cats may prefer napping all day while kittens want just to play. Therefore, to prevent conflicts, spend more time playing with the kitten and let your senior kitty nap in peace.
Read Also: Caring for Senior Cats
Additionally, introducing two senior cats can be very overwhelming. This is because they are territorial and may compete for social ranking. They may eventually get along but never become friends.
2. The cat’s gender
Cat gender although not a big concern plays a role in how cats get along. For instance, male cats cat be dominating. Female cats can get along more quickly than male cats. Male cats can become friends with female cats than they cat with other male cats. However, it also depends on the personality of the cats.
3. Are they related?
Cats from the same feline family tend to get along better than the cat that does not belong to the same family. In some cases, they may start getting along and become friends immediately.
4. The cats’ personalities
A cat’s personality plays a major role in determining how they will get along with other cats. Usually, dominant cats may struggle to get along with other cats while submissive cats will get scared around dominant cats. Therefore, if your resident cat is the bossy type, you may find it hard to introduce a new cat to them.
However, you can help the situation by using calming collars or sprays to ease the situation. It may take time but eventually, they will get along. Calming collars have calming pheromones that have been proven to help cats in stressful situations. Also, they work well when introducing new pets to the household.
Read Also: Best Calming Collars for Cats
5. Food availability
When you are introducing a new cat to the household, ensure that there will not be competition for food, water, and litter boxes. Resident cats may become aggressive to newcomers if they feel that the resources available are limited. Therefore, ensure that there is adequate food for both cats and each also each cat has their bowl.
6. Litter boxes availability
Cats can be very protective of their litter boxes. Strange, right? Therefore, ensure that there are enough litter boxes in the house to prevent conflict. This will save you from cleaning messes all over the house when your kitty avoids sharing the litter box.
7. Are they fixed?
Introducing a cat that has not been spayed or neutered can be stressful for other cats and you as well. This is because, when the female cat will be on heat, they will yowl and spray urine all over your house. On the other hand, a male cat will try to escape to find females to mate with and may get into fights with other male cats and get injured. Therefore, ensure that before you introduce a new cat to your household, you get them fixed first.
Read Also: Benefits of Neutering Your Male Cat
Why are my cats fighting all of a sudden?
- Competition for social ranking
- Territorial about their favorite spots, beds, litter boxes, food, and water bowls
- When one of your cats is just from the vet’s hence has picked other animal scents
- If they are ill they may become more aggressive and short-tempered and start fighting with other cats
- When a cat is stressed they may redirect their aggression to the other cats and start picking fights
Are My Cats Fighting or Playing? Aggressive Cat Behavior Towards Other Cats
Dominant cats may bully other cats in several ways. For instance, they may sit at the door to the room where the other cat wants to go or even guard food and litter boxes. Therefore, provide enough food bowls and litter boxes if your resident cat is a dominant and a bully. If your cats are constantly fighting, separate them, and isolate each cat in a safe room.
It is important to note that not all catfights are the same. Mostly, cats may appear like they are fighting but they are playing. Usually, this happens with kittens but it can also happen with adult cats.
Therefore, you will see them each other around the house, fight like wrestlers, and tackle each other on the floor. Sometimes it may get intense but as long as no cat is crying out in pain, there is no need to worry. They are probably playing and determining who the boss is.