Introducing a New Cat or Kitten to Your Current Cat(s)

Imagine you are walking home after a long day, looking forward to putting your feet up and having something to eat before relaxing on the sofa. However, when you get home, there is a stranger sitting on the sofa, eating all of your favourite food, announcing that they will be living there with you from now on!

free translation from Tierheim Vielau

Your reaction would probably be along the lines of, "Please get out of my house before I phone the police!"

This reaction is very understandable, but you could be doing exactly this to your cat when you bring a " new playmate " from the shelter and just drop it into its home.

That is why most places recommend that whenever taking a new cat or kitten home, introducing them to your existing cat should be a very gradual process. Cats can be very territorial and do not usually accept strangers into their lives very readily, especially when that stranger appears out of nowhere on four legs and all of a sudden, they have to compete for food and attention with another feline!

Put your new addition into a room on her own with a bed, litter tray and her food and water. This will be her "safe space" and will allow her to settle into your home without getting too overwhelmed.

Place some towels or blankets that smell of your existing cat in this room with her so that she can get used to the smell. Blanket exchanging is a very useful and effective way of allowing your cats to get used to each other’s smells; when one cat has slept on a blanket, swap it for the other one to sleep on.

Give your existing cat plenty of cuddles and attention so that she does not feel pushed out or jealous. Without washing your hands, go and visit your new addition and stroke her with the hands that smell of your existing cat. This is another method of allowing them to get used to the new smells.

When your existing cat is close to the door separating her from your new addition, give her plenty of treats so that she associates the smell with something positive. Do the same for your new addition.

When you feel that your new addition is ready to explore more of her new home, allow her to make supervised excursions outside of the room. If your existing cat is around, be prepared for some growls, hisses and maybe even a lash. This is a normal way for cats to introduce each other in person!