Whether you are getting a new cat or kitten, or just trying to introduce your current kitty to a new one, it is important to take a lot of time and care.
Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to help your felines get used to each other. By following these steps, you can give your cats the best chance at becoming close pals.
Set Up a Separate Area
When you introduce cats to each other, it is important to take steps to ensure that both cats are comfortable. This will give both of them the best chance at becoming close friends and helping them avoid negative interactions that could cause them to become stressed out or aggressive.
One of the easiest ways to introduce a cat to another cat is by setting up a separate area in your home. This doesn’t have to be a large room, but it should have enough space for the new cat to feel like it’s their own spot in your home.
Make sure that the area where your new cat is being introduced is well-stocked with everything that they need. This includes food, water, litter boxes, scratching posts, and toys.
You also want to make sure that the area is well-lit. A dark apartment can be a little unnerving to new kittens, so allowing them to see light in their new environment will help them get used to it.
The new cat may spend a few days exploring this new space. During this time, make sure that you check on them regularly to ensure that they are staying happy and healthy.
Once they’re settled in, it’s time to allow them to meet each other in a neutral location, like the family room. It’s normal for cats to hiss and swat during this first meeting, but that shouldn’t be a sign of any problems.
After two to three days, switch the cats’ locations so they can smell each other’s scents. This will help them become familiar with each other’s scents and will help them establish a sense of each other’s territory.
It is also important to block off any areas where your cats can hide, such as under the bed or in a closet. This will prevent them from hiding and avoiding the new cat, which can lead to a big fight between them.
Once the new cat is acclimatized to their new environment, they will begin to explore more of the area. You can do this by placing perches and things to climb in their area, but it is also helpful to put a litter box near their door so they can use it.
Keep the Cats Separate for a Few Days
In a small apartment, introducing a new cat can be especially challenging. It’s important to set up a safe environment for the new cat and provide them with everything they need. That includes a place to sleep, food, water, toys and scratching posts.
A good first step is to keep your cats separate for a few days to help them get used to each other’s presence. This will give your new cat time to cool down and adjust to their new home, while giving your resident cat time to get accustomed to the new kitty.
Once both of the cats are comfortable in their separate rooms, it’s time to introduce them to each other face to face. Using baby gates or pet gates, slowly and carefully let your cats meet each other in the open for the first time.
Before you start, be sure to take note of any signs of aggression or stress that the cats may exhibit. These can include growling, spitting, hissing, swatting or other signs of fear or stress.
If you see these signs of anxiety, or if one or both of the cats starts to react with hissing, spitting or swatting, it’s best to break them apart. This will allow both of them to get used to each other’s scent and calm down.
After a few days of separation, you can slowly crack the door between them and monitor the interaction. If they remain calm, you can begin letting them out of the gate and have them explore their surroundings. If there are any signs of stress or aggression, then you’ll need to stop the introduction and reintroduce them again.
It will vary for each cat and the environment they are in, but it’s usually not too long before two cats can be left alone together without any stress. If they do not get along, however, it will take much longer to reintroduce them.
Allow the Cats to Smell Each Other
When introducing a new cat into your apartment, you want to make sure that the cats get to know each other on a scent basis first. They are very sensitive to smell, and can quickly detect a second cat’s presence. The goal of letting the cats smell each other is to let them feel safe and comfortable in their new home.
One of the most important ways to do this is to swap towels and blankets with each cat’s scent on them. This lets them meet through scent rather than seeing each other, which can be uncomfortable for them and can cause stress.
You can also use a small door to separate the cats for a few days. During this time, allow the cats to sniff each other under the door, which is another way for them to meet through their sense of smell. This will help them become tolerant of each other’s smell and prevent them from displaying any signs of discomfort.
Once your cats are accustomed to each other’s smell, you can then proceed with visual contact. Open a small door and allow the cats to peer through it, but do not open it all the way, as they may not be happy about the sight of the other cat.
If they show any stress, try distracting them by playing a string toy or making loud noises that do not scare them. If they continue to display these negative behaviors, it’s time to break up the interaction.
Repeat this process daily until the cats are comfortable with each other’s scent. If they still have any problems with each other’s scent, you can try rubbing towels or blankets with each other’s scent on them and placing them on the floor for the other cat to explore.
This is a great way to introduce cats to each other, especially in a small apartment. However, it’s not an easy process and can take a few days or even months before the two cats are able to live together happily. It is possible that they will fight at first, but it’s important to reward them when they interact with each other and teach them that interacting is a positive thing.
Keep the Cats Separate at Night
When you are first introducing a new cat into your home, it is often helpful to keep the cats separated at night. This will help them adjust to each other’s presence and avoid any potential fighting that could occur between the two.
It is not uncommon for cats to fight over territory in the beginning, so it is important that you separate them until they have been able to get used to each other’s scents and behaviour. This can take a few weeks, but it is possible to achieve a positive relationship between the cats if you are patient and persevere with the introduction process.
After a few days, the two cats should be getting along well enough to meet for short periods of time without them becoming aggressive. It’s a good idea to put a baby gate or screen between the two of them so they can smell each other, but still have a barrier between them.
Once they are comfortable with each other and are not displaying any signs of stress, it is time to move them to unsupervised time together. The key is to continue giving them positive interactions over a long period of time, and if there are any negative interactions, to distract them with a toy or redirect their attention by giving them a treat to encourage them to continue with the interaction on a neutral or positive note.
If they are still hissing, or showing any other sign of fear, it is a good idea to separate them again for a few days to allow the fear levels to subside before reintroducing them. This will prevent any negative associations being formed between you and the other cat, which can lead to more aggressive behaviour.
If the cats are not calming down after some time, it may be best to contact a certified behaviorist who can come and assess your situation. Ask your vet, the Animal Behavior Society or the Applied Pet Behavior College to find a qualified professional near you.