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Introducing a Second Cat

Posted on April 26, 2019 at 2:00 PM

Don't be afraid to introduce a second cat

By Pam Johnson-Bennett, CABC | Pets – Thu, Feb 26, 2009 10:38 PM EST

"You want your cat to have a feline companion but you're terrified at the thought of attempting to get Fluffy to play nice with a new roommate. Does that mean she's doomed to live a lonely life without a feline friend? Certainly not. The biggest mistake owners make is that they do the wrong introduction. Cats aren't dogs so you can't do the same type of introduction. You also can't put the cats together assuming they'll "work it out." That approach is dangerous and puts tremendous stress on everyone.


The proper introduction centers around creating security for both cats.


Set up a room to be used as a sanctuary for the newcomer. This gives him an opportunity to get his bearings while feeling safe. If you simply let him loose in the house he'll feel stressed in the unfamiliar environment and once he encounters your resident cat he'll feel as if he has been dropped over enemy lines.


The sanctuary room should have a litter box, food/water, a few cozy hiding places, a scratching post, and toys. If you use a carrier to bring the cat into the house, leave the carrier out and open so the cat can use that as a hideaway.


Set up a Feliway Comfort Zone diffuser in the sanctuary room if the newcomer is an adult. This product contains synthetic feline facial pheromones. You can also set up a diffuser in your resident cat's main area.


Even though your resident cat can't see the newcomer on the other side of the sanctuary door, she'll likely express displeasure with the situation. Don't worry. Cats are territorial so it's natural that she might not view this as positive. Confining the newcomer to the sanctuary room shows your resident cat that only a portion of territory has changed - not the entire home.


Place a clean sock over your hand and gently rub the new cat around the face to collect some facial pheromones. Then spray the sock with one squirt of Feliway Comfort Zone spray. Place the scented sock in your resident cat's area. This will give her an opportunity to begin investigating the new cat's scent. The pheromones in the Feliway can help create a feeling of calm. Take another clean sock and gently rub your resident cat. Add a squirt of Feliway to that sock and place it in the sanctuary room. Do this sock exchange a few times.


The key to cat to cat introductions is to give them a reason to like each other. Show them that positive things occur in each other's presence. Open the sanctuary door, set up a baby gate across the doorway (yes, the cats could jump it but the gate provides somewhat of a barrier during these sessions) and feed the cats in sight of each other. Only leave the gate up while you're there to supervise during feeding sessions. Feed the cats within sight of each other but far enough apart so they don't feel threatened.


Periodically put your resident cat into a separate room so the newcomer can have an opportunity to roam around the house and get to know the turf. This will also help distribute his scent.


Keep doing sessions where the cats see each other while eating or getting treats. Gradually increase the exposure time."


For more step by step help, check out the book" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Cat vs Cat

Categories: Care Practices, Problem Solving, Behavior