How to Introduce a New Cat to the Family
Animals come to us for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’re looking for a kitty at a shelter, or you’ve found a kitten wandering around in your backyard. No matter how you come to have your next cat, cat parents need to remember that transitioning a new cat to your family can take time and patience. Luckily, there are some basic ways to introduce a new cat to your family.
Humans need to make sure that they are as calm as possible when meeting a new cat. If the cat is friendly, this can be an easy process. However, if your cat is shy or anxious, it will take time. Let your cat get used to you by being present. Talk quietly and wait. Trying to play with your cat can also help it come out of its shell.
Cats are territorial and can become upset if a new cat is trying to take up their space. So, a good first step is to seclude the new kitty in its own room, perhaps a laundry room supplied with its food, water, litterbox, and toys.
At feeding time, it’s good to allow each cat to eat on either side of a closed door, so they can associate the other cat’s smell with something pleasant.
After a few days of seclusion, you can swap the cats’ places. Let your resident cat explore the room in which your new cat has been staying and vice versa.
Next, you can start by cracking the doors open, so the cats can glimpse each other and become used to one another.
Repeat these steps for a few days or even weeks before letting them meet in an open area.
Like with humans, it’s best to try to keep your dog calm while being introduced to a new cat. Sometimes giving your new cat a high place is helpful, so it feels like it’s a little safer. Supervision is key when cats and dogs meet. Dogs have a natural instinct when it comes to smaller animals, and they might want to give chase, even in play. It might even be helpful to keep your dog on a leash for the first couple of meetings.
No matter if you’re introducing your new cat to your human or fur family members, just remember to be patient and give the new kitty plenty of space and time to adjust.