Ethologists agree on the convenience of taking in several cats in the same home, since they can keep each other company and entertain themselves when you are not at home. However, who they get along depends on several factors. The situation differs if it is two young kittens or two adults, especially if one of them arrives later.
It is always preferable that they arrive at the same time, but if this is not possible and you have an adult cat at home, you should opt for a puppy or a kitten with a similar character to yours. If you want to know how long it can take for them to be accepted as partners and how you should proceed to achieve it in the shortest possible time, you are in the right place.
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A new cat at home, what should I do?
The most common situation is usually having an adult cat, a few years old, and wanting to find a companion of similar age and personality. Kittens are generally more accepting of adult cats as they do not pose a threat to their territoriality. If the new tenant is also an adult cat, make sure it is female.
Adult males, if they are not spayed, usually take a little longer to assume they will have a new member in their circle. Sometimes they are even avoided throughout their coexistence as a means of avoiding confrontations. Adult females generally hit it off within a few weeks of the meeting.
In any case, you should not be obsessed with when they will start to get along, the priority is to make the presentation correctly and treat both on equal terms, without missing anything and rewarding advances that show interest in the other and in the interaction. Thus, they will understand that it is positive to be with the other cat and they will repeat it.
Considering the most typical situation, that of a new cat who comes home with another veteran, you should keep the new one in the carrier so that they have a first contact without risk of scratches. If they snort, don’t worry, it’s normal and it doesn’t mean they’re going to hate each other for life.
The recommendation of the feline behavior specialists is that each one has an exclusive space with everything necessary (feeder, drinker, sanitary tray, scraper, bed and toys). In this way, and for a period of a week or 10 days, they can acclimatize without feeling invaded by the other.
During this time, you should exchange their scents by impregnating their pheromones in a blanket or a toy and then offer it to the other cat and vice versa. Synthetic familiarization pheromones are designed precisely to speed up this process. Observe their reactions and if they are positive make these meetings longer and more direct.
How long will this process take?
It is not possible to determine an exact number of days or weeks that will be required for the relationship between them to be established. However, experience tells us that between an adult cat and a young one, everything could start to flow after 2 or 4 weeks.
In the case that both are adults, success will be conditioned by their personality and how we have executed the presentation. In around 3-4 weeks you could see improvements. If, on the contrary, the fights are habitual and one of them is stressed or scared, in addition to cutting the fights dry, you should visit an ethologist.
Tips for a happy cat coexistence
It is more than likely that if you do not alter the routines of your veteran kitten or neglect the affection you have become accustomed to, he will not perceive the new member of the family as a threat or an invader. However, you should not forget that on some occasions, despite trying to do it well, they are not tolerated and are simply avoided.
Keep these recommendations in mind:
Allow the new cat to explore her new home. Although in the first stage you will only have access to your room, after the week or 10 days after your arrival you should begin to investigate the rest of the house. Always under your supervision, of course.
If you stare at each other, you distract their attention with a little food or a game, it could be the prelude to an undesirable fight.
Never hold them in your arms when the adaptation process is in progress, something could not go right and you will get a scratch.
Make an effort to reward their conciliatory attitudes, for example by sniffing around or eating together. As the process progresses according to what is expected, they approach their feeders. Take advantage of any pleasant stimuli to reward them when they are together.
The key: Equal treatment
As you can see, there is no magic formula to get two unknown cats to get along. Bearing in mind their congenital feeling of territoriality and their taste for control and routines, it will be enough for you to respect their plots and satisfy their 5 freedoms of animal welfare on equal terms.
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