Five Tips on Introducing a New Cat to Your Household

Cats are territorial, which makes introducing another cat to your household a bit tricky. If you do not know how to introduce cats to each other properly, you could end up with a giant hissy-fit mess! There are ways to do this without causing undue stress on current and new cats. Here are five tips for bringing home a new cat in McDonough, GA:

  • Establish separate spaces: Before you bring home the new cat, establish a separate space for her, with her own food bowls, water, bed and litter box. Choose a spot away from the resident cats’ favorite places and make it her own. Plug in a Feliway diffuser so your home is full of calming hormones by the time the new cat arrives.
  • Start slow: Your new cat will likely feel overwhelmed if you introduce her to the other cats right away or if you let her loose into their territory, so start slowly with the space you set aside for her. When you bring her home, keep towels or bedding she used previously so she knows the scent. Bring her into her separate room and close the door before you let her out. If she is not ready to leave the carrier, do not force the issue. Leave her alone in the room so she can settle into it without pressure. Do not be alarmed if she prefers to hide at first or only comes out to eat or use the litter box.
  • Introduce via scent: The easiest way to inform the established cats of a newcomer is through scent. Bring towels or blankets used by the new cat into general living areas so the current cats can smell them. If they hiss or spit at the object, know that this is part of the process and give them time to accept it. Also, spend time with the new cat and established cats so all their scents are embedded on you. That will also help all the cats get used to each other.
  • Set up a barrier: Introduce the cats visually with a barrier between them, like a baby gate or screen. If that is not possible, open the door a crack and allow them to see each other that way. Give both cats treats and play with them, but do not use catnip. One hiss or a quick swat is normal, but if aggression exceeds those minimal levels, make the opening smaller. Time introductions on their terms until both cats sniff or play through the door. Once they are quiet about one another’s presence, you have a proper introduction.
  • Start physical introductions: Once the cats do well with a door or screen between them, open the door and let them explore. If there is hissing and swatting, clap your hands to distract them. Never force them to interact—if they need space, let them establish it.

The Paw Pad offers boarding and grooming for cats as well as dogs. Once you follow these tips for bringing home a new cat in McDonough, GA and ensure a smooth introduction, give us a call when you need grooming or boarding!

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