Introducing A New Cat to Your Home

Friends at Last
Friends at Last

Many people have more than one cat and seem to have gotten there with ease, but this is not always the case. I'm guessing if you're reading this you're one of the many who have experienced the yowling and hissing that comes with the introduction of a new feline into a the home. Relax and read a bit and see that despite what your friends say it does take some time and there are some rules to let things "happen naturally".

Introducing a new cat into the household can be tricky but with a pinch of patience and a dash of disregard, your feline foes will soon be cuddling up with you. Let's review some critical first steps as you introduce your new cat:

1. Preparing your home: Remember that your cat is the current leader - don't take that away from her (let's use the feminine pronoun) and continue to treat her like the queen she probably is. Get the new kitty a separate litter box to start with and make up a separate feeding area. Cats share in our homes because we make them, let's not make her start right away.

2. Bringing home the new kitty: Remember it's a relatively normal day! Try to maintain a low key attitude even though you might be saving kitty's life or she may be the cutest thing you've ever seen. Cats treat life with a nuanced nonchalant attitude - we can all emulate that a bit. Keep your tone simple and welcoming but don't over-do it. Your "persnickety one" is watching your body language and is judging you and her new feline mate.

3. Mealtime: Elders come first! Feed her first and let her finish; then feed your new kitty. If she wants to, she'll follow you and see you feed the new kitty. She'll figure out kitty is staying and evaluate the situation. In time, she will follow you.

4. Bedtime: This is the trickiest time because it's your bedtime but not so for kitty! Nighttime is often playtime. If you can separate them on the first night, that is ideal. Consider using the bathroom as home base for your new one. A new kitty often craves a small or confining spot so try to have a cardboard box handy. You don't need anything special for kitty just yet, just something to soothe your own nerves as you try not to interfere. Cats may not be aware of their limitations but they do know how to hide. Realistically, they become great friends in less than one month. Usually, the fuss is over in a few days.

I recommend bringing home the new kitty on a Saturday morning - and make it early, just after your first coffee!

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