How to Introduce a Friend to Your Feline
Unlike dogs, cats like to be by themselves. In fact, by nature, felines are solitary animals and are purr-fectly happy doing life solo! But what if you, the pet parent, like having lots of animals to love on? What if you are both a cat and a dog person? Just like human siblings, cats can learn to love a new companion!
When it comes to bringing new furry friends into your one cat house, it’s important to make sure you know the rules of engagement that will best suit every tail! With a little preparation and a lot of patience, you can have a friend for your feline that you will both love equally. Let’s explore the best ways to introduce your cat to a new pet!
As any good cat owner knows, the best way to make your home feel comfortable to any feline is to “catify” it properly! Cats like to climb and scratch and have access to escape places so your home has to be “catified”, or transformed, to suit their needs. This means having indoor cat trees for exploration and a good cat house for solitary escape when needed.
Before bringing a new pet into your home, be sure you put all of your residents cat’s items in one location in the house so they have their own separate space. This includes all climbing structures and cat beds as well all toys, food, blankets, and even their litter box. Basically any item that is a scent soaker for your cat! This will allow you to have a “basecamp” for your cat as you slowly make introductions.
A new cat friend
Some people say that cats are like spoonfuls of ice cream – you can’t have just one! There are millions of homes around the globe with two or more cats living happily together, so you, too, can do the same! Here are a few tips to help make that initial meeting and lifetime together harmonious:
Tip 1: The number one rule to remember when introducing two cats is to not let them meet face to face right away! Cats are not only solitary beings, but territorial as well, and meeting by scent only at first will better help with adjustments. Set up a separate area of your home – a guest room, office, etc. – that will be initially dedicated as the “new cat’s” home. Put all of their climbing trees, food, water, toys and litter box inside this space so it is completely separate from your resident cat.
Tip 2: After 2-3 days of bringing your new feline home, switch the “basecamp” spaces that each cat is in. If your resident cat was staying in the guest bedroom and the new cat was in the office, swap their “stuff” from one room to the other and have them stay the next 2-3 days in the new room. This will allow both cats to “get to know each other” through their respective scents before they actually meet.
Tip 3: On average, it can take a full week or more to gradually ease into the introduction process. Once both cats have successfully sniffed one another’s scents, it’s time for the official meet and greet. We suggest putting up a gate to block space between the cats for the initial meeting. With the resident cat on one side of the gate and your new feline friend on the other, slowly allow them to meet. Be sure to have treats for each of them to reward and encourage good behavior and toys for them to play with! You can repeat this step several times over the course of a few days with the goal of getting the cats to eat their food on either side while not being too bothered by each other.
Tip 4: After several “meets” with a barrier between them, the goal is to make sure that neither your resident cat nor your new cat are showing any signs of aggression. This process could take a few weeks up to a few months depending on the disposition of each cat. Keep in mind that if your new feline friend is a kitten, this process can take a bit longer. Kittens have lots of energy and if your resident cat is older, they may respectively need more time to adjust!
Your patience and persistence will pay off! Now you can open up the space and allow for both cats to mingle together without restrictions! Congratulations – you are now a multiple cat parent!
A new dog friend
You know the saying, “they fight like cats and dogs”? We think this notion is a myth! While canines and felines are not naturally the best of friends, they can absolutely co-exist together in perfect harmony! If you own a cat and want to introduce a new dog to the mix, the steps to do so are not that different from introducing a new cat. Be sure to follow the previous tips and consider these as well:
- When you do a first face-to-face with your new dog and resident cat, make sure your cat is at the dog’s eye level. This will help level the playing, or size difference, field between the two animals!
- Have a family member or friend hold the cat while you hold the dog to ensure safety for both should either animal show aggression.
- Limit alone time together until you feel completely comfortable that both animals are able to coexist without issue.
- The goal in a cat and dog relationship is toleration – not necessarily affection. So if both animals ignore one another consider that a sign of success!
Signs of success
As with any sibling relationship, there will be growing pains and wins along the way! While there is no magic formula that will guarantee a successful loving relationship between your cat and their new friend, there are a few signs to look for!
Adult current cat + adult new cat
If both your resident cat and new cat are adults, their bond could be immediate or could take months. The best way to have a successful older cat relationship? Make sure you really know the demeanor of your current cat before deciding on which new cat to bring home. If your resident cat is a snuggler and lazy lap lounger, you want to try to make sure the new cat fits the same personality. Knowing their key behavior traits beforehand will better provide for success sooner. You will know the two are happy housemates when they can co-exist in the same space without showing any signs of aggression!
Adult current cat + kitten
Kittens are energy furballs in motion! If your resident cat is of adult age, they may take some more time to warm up to the idea of a younger playmate. It’s a natural order for felines to want to establish hierarchy with other cats, so don’t be surprised if your once docile cat starts to hiss and swat at the new kitty. This is normal at first and should be tolerated as long as no felines are hurt in the process! A successful cat and kitten relationship can be found when boundaries are established and both cats understand them.
Adult current cat + dog
It’s true! Cats and dogs can in fact be best friends! While this is more of an exception than a rule, we have uncovered above the necessary preparations to make this relationship work well! The most important thing to remember when having both a cat and a dog in the house is that separate spaces are a successful key to this relationship! Once you have spent the time to make sure they can be around one another without aggression, be sure to always separate them to their individual spaces when unattended. Both your cat and your dog will appreciate this!
There are many ways to make a house a home and for felines, there are many products that make them feel at home, too! Here is a list of the essential “must have” cat products you need to have for both your current cat and new cat:
Cat Tree: Cats like to scratch – A LOT! So having a place where they can sink their claws into is essential – especially if you want to keep your couches scratch free! In addition, a cat tree affords your cat the ability to climb up high to escape the dog when it may become too annoying! The Omlet Freestyle Indoor Cat Tree is a great option as it is completely customizable! Available in 6 sizes with a variety of accessories to choose from, this cat tree can easily accommodate all of your felines!
Outdoor cat enclosure
If you have a backyard space, consider an outdoor cat enclosure that will allow your cat to enjoy the freedom of being in nature without concern of wandering off. Bonus – the Omlet Outdoor Catio can be used by multiple cats at once! Simply install a cat enclosure partition to allow both cats the same freedom to roam, but with independent spaces! And if you lack a backyard – don’t worry! Omlet’s Cat Balcony Enclosure provides the same fully secure and escape proof experience!
We have the saying “cat nap” for a reason – cats love a good snooze! When owning multiple cats, be sure you have a bed for every feline because they don’t like to share! The Maya Donut Elevated Cat Bed is a great option with its customizable fabrics and machine washable capabilities!
The biggest difference between cats and dogs? Where they go to the bathroom! And just like cat beds, you need to have at least one litter box for each cat in your house. Since cats like privacy when they are using “the loo”, consider the Maya Cat Litter Box that doubles as a sleek piece of furniture while also providing privacy! This customizable litter box design also helps minimize smells and messes!
When it comes to owning more than one cat, the keys to success are simple: preparation, persistence, and patience! Your resident cat may not know that they want a new sibling right away, but with a little bit of time and a whole lot of love, they will likely be cuddling with their new companion in no time! Happy tails!
This entry was posted in Cats