We tend to “humanize” pets and think that if we introduce our cat to a new companion, it will accept it willingly from the first moment.
But no, cats are not usually friendly when we introduce a new pet into their “territory” .
If you bring a new cat home with another cat, what that new cat is doing is invading their “home.” Imagine how you would feel if you walked into your living room and found an unknown person sitting there. You wouldn’t react well, sure.
The normal thing, when joining two cats that do not know each other at home, is that the following happens:
- Once they have eye contact, the two cats will look at each other and make threatening noises.
- They will adopt a threatening body posture to try to appear bigger and fiercer. One of them may decide that the other is too big and strong and will try to back off and run.
- Sometimes neither cat will run away, in which case a fierce fight will ensue.
Although some cats can live very happily with other pets , this happy coexistence will depend, to a large extent, on how they have been raised from birth, as well as their own temperament and personality.
In this article you will learn how to put two cats that do not know each other together.
You might be interested in reading this related article: cats fight at home. Reasons and tips to fix it.
Cats and their relationship with other animals
In the wild , cats do not hunt or live in packs like dogs and are generally much more independent and solitary creatures . Their main instinctive concern is having enough to eat and being able to mate with other cats .
This means that the territory is of vital importance for them, introducing another cat into their territory is a threat to obtain food and to their need for mating. For this reason, when introducing cats for the first time, they usually feel threatened and react aggressively.
Still, some cats are able to get along with other cats and pets in the home. It is not unusual for many families to have two or more cats and for them to get along well with each other, save for a small dispute.
Reasons for a cat not to accept another companion
On the contrary, some cats find it very difficult to accept another pet in their territory and this can lead to fights and tensions within the home, which can be very stressful for both cats and owners.
The reason may be that the cat was not properly socialized after birth. The first seven weeks of a cat’s life are a “sensitive period” and it is during this time that a cat must have contact with other animals, people and other cats in order for it to accept them throughout its life.
Of course, the individual personality of each cat is also an important factor and some cats are simply lonely and a little grumpy, which makes it difficult to live with other pets.
Time and effort can make a difference. It is important that, in your case, you take an active role in the introduction and go to great lengths to assure your cats that there is nothing to fear.
What not to do when introducing cats
Before guiding you on how to properly present cats , I will point out what I consider inappropriate but, unfortunately, it is often done:
- Do not put the new cat in a carrier in the room where other cats are. This is very stressful for new felines.
- Do not physically restrain catswith your hands, a harness, or leashes in an effort to force interactions. This is one way to increase cats’ stress levels and injure themselves.
- Do not place a cat face to facewith another cat.
- Don’t just open the protractor and let them come together for the first time.
Steps to follow to introduce another cat at home without causing problems
The presentation of a new cat in our home takes time, we must be patient and follow these steps even may be necessary to repeat the process if we fail at first time.
- Separate the cats:keep the new cat in a separate room from the beginning, you can put a net and leave the door to that room open. You can also use a screen door, French doors, or closet shelving – get creative! Make sure you have eliminated the cats’ perception that they can climb over the barrier you put up, with a pad, sheet, towel, or other similar obstruction. If they manage to overcome the barrier just once, it will become increasingly difficult to dissuade them.
- Exchange their smells: rub a clean towel over your new pet and then rub this towel around the rest of the house, on walls, furniture, etc. This will allow your cat to get used to this new smell. Repeat the process in reverse, transferring your cat’s scent to the new cat’s room. Wait a day or so for your cats to get used to this new smell before continuing.
- Give her affection:Make sure the new cat doesn’t become the focus of all your attention. It is important that your cat does not feel ignored, as this will increase his insecurities.
After a few days and when you feel that the new cat trusts its new environment, introduce the two cats:
- Slow Introductions –Place the new cat in a cat carrier in a room so they have visual access to your cat. One trick that works to improve these first encounters is to place some treats or cans of cat food a short distance from the carrier. This food will help the felines to get closer to the new cat and see its arrival as something positive. Stay in the room and let your cats see each other. They can hiss, hiss, but don’t react to this. This first meeting should only last a few minutes. Repeat the process daily, the periods of time that are longer and longer. While the presentation is taking place, make sure you are relaxed and don’t scold them.
- Repeat the above process:but in reverse, with your cat in the carrier and the new cat outside. Little by little, as time goes by, the process of introducing cats is repeated over and over again and cats are exposed for longer and longer periods of time, their reactions should become less and less aggressive as they get used to it. sight and
When you see that the aggressiveness has decreased, it is time to gather the cats without the carrier . Never leave them alone together during this time. Let them meet in their own way. Offer treats to the cats, so that they associate the presence of each with a good experience. However, if a fight breaks out, break up, never yell, stay calm, and try again later.
Once cats have gone through this introduction process in a calm and quiet environment, they will stop feeling threatened by one another and will stop reacting aggressively.
Very importantly, the above steps are intended to change the cat’s natural behavior and help it tolerate the new arrival, and possibly even make a new friend.
Do not forget that patience is the main element every time we try to modify feline behavior.
How long does it take for a cat to accept a new one at home?
There is no single answer, the time is difficult to determine, the normal thing is that the introduction does not last more than 10 days.
Young kittens are easier to introduce than adult cats , the younger the cat, the faster the adaptation process.
It is also a question of the temperaments of the cats . Even the most disciplined introduction process can fail if cats are shy or aggressive .
You cannot speed up the process by skipping stages, you have to work with both cats gradually.
You must respect that each cat has its own “things”, and that they feel that they have their little part of the home that they can consider “theirs”.
Must-have items every cat should have
- Sand tray: the trays should not be too close together.
- Feeding and water bowls: once again, separate.
- Beds: Unless you like to sleep together, each cat will have to have its own bed.
- Affection: Make sure you spend the same amount of time with each of your cats. Playtime encourages exercise and will make your new cat feel like part of the family.
Natural products to calm tension between cats
Some commercially available products have been created to help relieve tension between cats. Lavender , honeysuckle and valerian root extract , are aromas that have a calming effect on cats . Essential oils can be toxic to cats if ingested, so don’t let them lick or eat the product.
Commercial product to reassure cats
Feliway is a commercial product that works using feline soothing pheromones and is available in two formulas. Feliway’s original formula mimics the feline facial pheromone. The new Feliway Multi formula simulates the pheromone found in the mammary glands of breastfeeding mothers.
The goal of this product is to strengthen the relationship or bond with the cats in the home and make them recognize each other as a more cohesive group.
Feliway is often used as a “quick fix,” but like medications, it is not a definitive solution. You will get the best results when Feliway is used in conjunction with the steps I have indicated above.
The key to introducing cats to each other is to do it slowly . Take small steps and evaluate how your cats react. There is no magic formula for knowing when a cat is ready to fully integrate into the home; you must observe them and check their progress individually. Some say their cats got along very well from day one, and others that it took them six months or more until they finally lived peacefully under the same roof.
Cats can hang out together most of the time, even if they’re not the best of friends, as long as they’re introduced slowly and positively and you have enough resources around the house. They should never be forced to share basic necessities such as food, water, litter, and cat trees.
But what if they never get along?
Unfortunately, there are cases where owners tried to introduce cats to each other and they just didn’t succeed. Quite unpleasant fights can break out at any moment, injury to cats, or one of them turning into a scared and frightened cat .
In these cases, it would be best to find a home for the newer cat where he can regain his confidence and live a happy, relaxed life.
Your old cat will also benefit, since he will no longer feel threatened in his own home and can return to being a happy cat. I realize that this is a difficult decision for homeowners to make, but necessary in certain cases.
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