So, you’ve decided that your little kitty needs a new feline friend to play with. Bringing home a new cat is exciting and fun! But, there are a couple things you can do to ensure that your furry family gets along well.
Before you pick up the new kitty, ensure that you have a private room – with a door – that your new addition can relax in without interacting with the resident cat. Putting a box or “hiding place” in the room will give them a place to feel safe. Also, include a food and water bowl, litter box and some toys to play with. This will give them a chance to acclimatize to the house smells first.
Next, once your new cat has settled some, try to feed both cats on opposite sides of the closed door, so that they can get used to coming close to each other, even if they can’t see each other just yet. This will give some positive reinforcement. Continue that for a few days.
Afterward, if there have been no obvious signs of aggression through the door (hissing, growling, scratching, etc) you can try to switch rooms for the cats for a short time. Place the new kitty outside his safe room, and place the resident cat into it. Do this with care, however, so that the cats are not in contact with each other just yet. This step will allow both of the cats to get used to the scent of each other. Continue to do this every day for a few days.
Going forward now is the time that the kitties are allowed to see each other. To help with this, a baby gate or screen would be best as it allows them to see and hear and smell each other, but with a barrier to help avoid aggression. You can try to throw treats closer to the screen for both of them, or use toys close to the barrier to encourage a positive vibe between them. Assuming this stage goes well for a couple days, you can try to remove the barrier for short times each day. Be ready to break up fights, though. A spray bottle is good for this purpose, and it will spare your hands/arms/face in the event of an altercation. As they start to get used to each other, you can let them play longer and longer until they are the best of friends (hopefully!)
If these steps don’t appear to be working, there are a number of alternate things we can try. In this case, feel free to give Coxwell Animal Clinic a call, and we can discuss some options to try to make things as peaceful as we can.