It can be very tempting to want to have a new kitten or cat at home and it’s somewhat easy to romanticise the idea that your cats will become best friends at the first meeting, however, the reality isn’t quite as easy as that.
The most important thing you need to ask yourself is whether or not your cat has proven to be able to be around cats in the past?
Do they get into fights regularly with the local street cats?
Have they been an indoor cat for their whole life meaning they’re not very well socialised?
If the answer to either of these questions is yes it may not be the best idea to introduce a new cat into the family. It is always important to put the emotions of your pre-existing cat first.
However, if you think your cat may be okay with having a new friend at home there are certain things you can do to help make the adjustment easier.
Unfortunately, we can’t expect our cats to be put into a room together and be friends immediately. They need time to work one another out and learn how to communicate with one another.
- Use a Feliway pheromone spray or use the plugin diffuser. This could really help soothe both your cats’ nerves and reduce the anxiety levels leading to aggression. Recently Feliway has released Feliway Friends – this formula has been specially designed to help with bonding between cats. Ideally, a Feliway plugin diffuser should be introduced a week or two before the new arrival.
- Get your new cat their own litter tray and bowls. This will give them a sense of confidence that they have somewhere that is just for them in their new home but it also means your old cat won’t get angry that the new cat is stepping in on their territory and taking their things. The gold standard in cat behaviour when it comes to litter trays is one for each cat plus one more, meaning for two cats in a home, a total of 3 litter trays are recommended.
- Investing in multiple beds and cat trees is highly recommended. This will help them feel secure and safe in the knowledge that there is somewhere for them to go and hide alone if they get into any confrontations with each other.
- Introducing cats gradually really is key. Having your new cat kept in one room for a while and letting your old cat sniff around the door so they can get the scent of the new visitor will be really helpful so they aren’t quite as shocked to see a new animal in their home when the new cat is let out on their own. The two cats should never be left alone together until you are completely sure they have accepted each other.
If you are concerned about either of your cats once they have been introduced, whether it is a concern for their stress levels or anything else, we would strongly advise contacting your vet and discussing this further. It is important that your cats have all the support possible when going through any changes and your vet will be the best person to help them.