Written by Humane Society staff veterinarian, Dr. Rimme Singh, DVM.

With Caturdays going on every Saturday for the month of November here at the Humane Society of Broward County, I thought it would be helpful to write a little bit about how to best introduce a cat into your household, especially if you have another cat.

Below are 3 important steps to help ensure that your pets integrate well with each other, but please remember the most important thing is to take your time and introduce them slowly.

Step 1: Bringing your new feline friend home with you.

Cat in Crate

It’s always a good idea to initially keep your new cat in a separate area of the home with his or her own litter box and food. I recommend keeping it in a separate room with a closed door for two reasons:

  1. First, your new cat might have be carrying a cold, and we want to have to see if the cold appears and to treat it. For this reason, I recommend keeping your cat in another area of the house for 5 to 10 days. I know this seems like a long time, but this also helps with my second reason…
  2. To give your pets time to adjust to each other’s scent and which works as a peaceful introduction.

Step 2: Further the scent recognition.

cat scent recognition

Photo Credit: Cody Wellons/adventurecats.org

You may do this by keeping a towel or blanket in with your new cat, and alternate it with your other cat so they all get to know each other’s smell. They may also start to get to know one another through the closed door (or baby gate if you don’t have another room). You can help with this by offering high-end treats or canned food to both pets on either side of the closed door.

Step 3: Catching a glimpse

cat catching a glimpse

Now that they are aware of the new scents, it’s time for them to see each other. One of the easiest ways to do this is to place a baby gate on the open door frame, so your new kitty still has the safety of the new room he or she is in but can see his or her new family member. If you don’t have the ability to put up a baby gate, you can put harnesses and leashes on both pets and have them see each other across a hallway.

Once these steps have been completed, you can allow your two cats to meet fully. To ensure that both cats feel safe, provide hiding places such as cat trees and have multiple litter boxes and food bowls so they don’t feel territorial. Lastly, consider adding feline pheromone collars, such as Feliway, so that your kitties feel relaxed throughout the whole process.

We wish you the best of luck with your new kitty and hope this information is helpful!

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