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Introducing a new cat into the household

This must be done slowly over a few weeks, to allow the new cat to learn to identify its new home. Initally , it should be kept in one room with all the windows closed, together with all its resources (food, water, litter tray, scratching post).

Then it should be let out into the house, with all the windows closed, initally for a short time, and then  increasing the time so it learns the lay of the house and also starts to learn the appearance of the garden through the windows.

If you have another cat, the new cat should be kept in a separate room, with all its resources( food, water, litter tray, scratch post).

The first step is ‘scent swapping’. Rub a cloth over cat A, and place the cloth with cat A’s scent on it next to cat B’s food bowl. Place a different cloth with cat B’s scent on it next to cat A’s food bowl. Initially the cat may show quite a reaction to the cloth with the scent on it; however , after time the cat will stop reacting to the scent all together. This may take a few days.

The next step is to rub both cats with the same cloth, and again place the cloth with both scents next to the food bowl. The cats are now introduced to a mixed scent. You can now allow ‘time sharing’. This means that the new cat A, is still kept in its own room. Once a day, initially for a short time, and increasing the time, cat B is locked in another room and cat A is allowed out of its room and can wander through the house.

Cat A’s scent is thus introduced into the house (in a non threatening way). When cat B is allowed in the house again, it will pick up the scent, but recognize it from the the cloth. However, because the smell was paired with something pleasant (food) it should not pose a threat to cat B. Hereafter the cats can be brought in closer proximity to each other, while there is a barrier between them.

You could place the food bowls on either side of the door. After this step allow visual access through a window or glass door. Only then should you let both cats occupy the house together.

Important aspects to increase the chance that the cats will accept each other include:

  • Increase the amount of food and water stations so that there is no perception that the resources are limited
  • Add more litter trays, place them in different areas of the house
  • Ensure that each cat has a safe place to hide in away from the other cat
  • Give each cat individual attention