INTRODUCING A NEW CAT TO YOUR CAT (OR CATS)
Make sure that all cats are in good health and up-to-date on vaccinations.
To avoid hard feeling(s) with your current feline, the newcomer should have its own food and water bowls, litter box, bed (a cardboard box with a towel or old sweater in the bottom is sufficient) and a few toys.
Cats are territorial so don't be surprised if the new cat gets an inhospitable greeting. Hissing and muttering are normal reactions; so don't punish your cat for expressing resentment this way. Be sure to lavish attention on your current feline friend before and after the new arrival so that he'll know that his place in your heart is secure.
Many cat experts recommend that you arrange to have the new cat brought into the house by someone else (preferably not a member of the family). This will help to prevent your cat from holding you responsible for this intrusion. The new cat should be brought into a room set up for this purpose with her necessities. Allow your cat to check out the newcomer while she is still in the carrier. Be prepared for some complaining. After your cat has finished checking out the new one in this way, remove him from the room and distract him with a treat or special attention. The person who brought the new cat into the home should let the cat out of the carrier in the closed room and see that he is all set there. Keep the new cat in the closed room for a few days. This permits the new cat to become comfortable with her new surroundings and your first cat will feel that only part of his territory has been invaded. Some sources suggest that letting each of the cats inspect the other' territory in the other cat's absence is helpful. After a few days, open the door and let the two cats meet. To prevent possible scratches, you may want to trim both cats' claws before this meeting. Don't encourage them or hover over them and don't reprimand hissing and complaining. In the unlikely event that a fight breaks out, you can break it up with a squirt of water from a spray bottle. Usually physical contact is limited to a paw swipe or two.
Many experts recommend that you don't pet the new cat in sight of your original cat until the original cat has accepted the new one. They tell us that the newcomer is usually accepted faster this way. So pet your new cat -- just don't get caught!
When you sleep at night or leave the house, close the new cat back up in the room until you are certain that there won't be any major scuffles. Some cats hit it off instantly; others take several months to completely adjust. With patience & care, even situations that seem difficult at first DO WORK OUT.
Reinforce the idea that it is fun to have this new cat around by arranging for pleasant things to happen when they are together -- a special treat of catnip, a snack of favorite food, new toys or new paper bags to hide in.
Please feel free to call us if you have any questions, or if you need additional advice.
The Purr-fect Cat Shelter, Inc.
"recycling homeless cats into lifetime pets"
Post Office Box 548, Medway, MA 02053
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