Many people buy pets for the holidays, but it takes some real savvy to introduce a new cat into a house where there are cats already in residence without the fur flying.
Following these simple steps will ensure that your cats become fast friends for life:
1. Bribe your cat. A few days ahead of the new petís arrival, buy your cat a new scratching post. You cat will associate this prize with an impending positive change.
2. Be patient. Solid friendships sometimes take time. Some cats take weeks, even months to become paw pals. Expect to hear a few hisses.
3. Plan ahead. Select a large bathroom or spare room to house the new arrival. Place cat necessities in that room: food an water bowls, bedding, litter box, and toys, and shut the door so your house cat wonít snoop around.
4. Be stealthy. Bring the new pet in quietly and incognito. Try not to let your cat see you entering the door with this animal to avoid any resentment. Donít pussyfoot around. Walk straight to the new cat room and place him inside and shut the door.
5. Encourage the sniff test. By now, your house cat will suspect something is different and will be drawn to the door. Let both meet each other by sniffing one another from under the doorframe. This helps them to get to know one another on their own terms.
6. Share scents. After a day or so, take a slightly damp towel and rub it on your new kittenís back. Then rub this towel on your adult catís back. Take a second damp towel and rub it first on your adult catís back and then on the new arrivalís back. Intermingling scents encourages familiarity.
7. Donít play favorites. Spend quality one-on-one time with each cat. Pamper them with plenty of praise, hugs, and treats. Make each one feel special.
8. Switch rooms. After two or three days, switch places. Put your house cat in the spare room for a few hours and let the new arrival check out the rest of the house. This helps prevent any possible turf tussles.
9. Make the introductions. Youíre finally ready for the face-to-face introduction. Let your house cat be free to approach the new arrival that you place inside a carrier or on a leash. Let them have plenty of time to approach and sniff. Expect a few hisses–itís your adult catís way of declaring, ďHey, Iím the boss around here.Ē
10. Encourage interaction. Gradually increase the exposure time of the animals to each other. Give them both food treats, always offering a treat to your adult cat first.
Once you feel confident that the two felines can get along, leave them alone unsupervised.
Adapted from The Kitten Ownerís Manual, by Arden Moore (Storey Books, 2001). Copyright (c) 2001 by Arden Moore. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.
Adapted from The Kitten Ownerís Manual, by Arden Moore (Storey Books, 2001).