How to Introduce a New Cat to Another Cat or Dog

by catfood

Cats, like humans, have distinct personalities and are often picky about what they like and dislike. When meeting your family, it’s important to let them go at their own pace and give them their own space to feel comfortable.

Here are some introduce a new cat to another cat or dog tips to make the process as simple as possible.


How to Introduce Cats: Meeting Your Other Cat

Many cat-loving households have more than one cat. Cats can be friends and playmates for one another, enriching each other’s lives. (Learn more about the benefits of multi-cat households.) Socializing cats, on the other hand, can take time and patience. Cats are frequently put in situations in which they are either a resident cat confronted by a newcomer cat or a new cat entering the territory of an existing cat. To be honest, neither position is going to be fun.

Throwing two cats together without regard for their positions is a recipe for disaster. Cats, on the other hand, can gradually accept one another and may even become lifelong friends with a carefully planned introduction.

Before bringing your new cat home, make sure she has been vaccinated and tested for contagious diseases, parasites, and feline leukemia. This will protect both her health and the health of your other pets at home.

Here are some additional suggestions to help with the introduction.

Keep your cats apart at first.

For the first week or so, confine your new cat to one safe, quiet, preferably carpet-free room with a screened window and supervised play. According to Cat Behavior Associates’ Pamela Johnson-Bennett, your new cat’s special room should include all of the comforts of home, such as a litter box, food/water, some cozy hiding places, a scratching post, and toys.


Your other cat will be able to hear and smell the new cat, which may agitate and threaten her. Make certain she receives extra attention and playtime. Urinating outside the litter box, vomiting, and excessive grooming are all stress symptoms. Certified Cat Behavior Consultant Marilyn Krieger suggests “rubbing one cat’s cheek with a cloth and putting it in the other cat’s room, and vice versa” to help them get used to each other’s scents. Cats have scent glands on their cheeks that produce ‘friendly pheromones.’ After a few days, Krieger recommends petting both cats on the cheeks twice a day with a sock over your hand.

“Start with the bowls several feet away from the door,” Krieger advises, “and gradually inch them closer to the door each day.” Krieger also suggests feeding the cats on opposite sides of your new cat’s room’s closed door, which allows the cats to become acquainted with one another and associate one another with pleasurable experiences, such as eating.

Slowly Let The Cats See Each Other

If your cats have stopped hissing and growling at each other under the door after about a week, it’s time to move on. Allow the cats to see, smell, and bat at each other without making full body contact. Install a tall baby gate or stack two short ones in the confinement room doorway. If this isn’t possible, open the door a few inches and place door jams on both sides.

When your cats appear to be comfortable eating on opposite sides of the door, Krieger suggests moving the food dishes away from the entranceway and opening them during mealtime. Stand by the door while the cats eat, then close it again when they’re finished. Increase the amount of time the door is left open until you’re comfortable leaving it open all the time and allowing your cats to interact.

Make the Face-to-Face Introduction

Allow your cats to leave the room once they are relatively calm around each other, and let the two cats find each other on their own. “Don’t be concerned if the cats completely ignore each other or hiss briefly before walking away,” says Jane Harrell, a long-time cat foster parent. “It will take some time for your cats to realize that the other is a friend, not a foe.”

To treat both equally and limit territorial skirmishes, provide separate litter boxes, food and water dishes, and enough space to enjoy time apart at different times of the day. Continue to keep an eye on your cats for signs that their squabbling is more than just a squabble over a toy or a favorite snoozing spot.

Expect the process to take several weeks to a month or more. Seek advice from your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist if your felines don’t seem to be warming up to the idea of sharing one home or are becoming more aggressive rather than settling in.

How to Introduce Cats: Meeting Your Dog

Use the same method when introducing your new kitten or cat to your dog: separate them at first, then allow them to meet visually while separated by a gate or screen. When you first put them together, keep your dog on a leash to prevent him from chasing and scaring your cat. To feel safe around your dog, make sure your cat has access to vertical space.


How to Introduce Cats: Meeting Your Children

Before introducing your new cat to your children, explain to them that cats are sensitive living creatures with feelings similar to theirs. Your cat may be nervous, just like they are when meeting someone new, so be careful not to scare them. Explain that when petting them, they should be gentle and never pull on their tail, grab them, chase them, or make loud noises around them.

Allow your children to sit on the floor with a cat toy and allow your cat to approach them. Shake the toy and try to entice your cat to play. If your cat interacts with your children, have them practice giving slow, gentle pets that are not too rough or loud. If your cat is wary, have your children try to entice it with quiet, gentle phrases like “here, kitty.”

The length of this process is determined by your pets’ personalities; however, if you follow these guidelines and make gradual and careful introductions, your new cat will feel right at home in no time.

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