Introductions at a Glance

Respect your established pet's boundaries when introducing a new cat. Follow these tips to make introductions go more smoothly.

By Deborah Draper

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Though domesticated, your cat still operates primarily by instinct. Ease introductions by respecting these differences, instead of bypassing them.

1. Be patient enough to devote weeks, even months, to the process. Go back a step or two at the first sign of discomfort in either cat, and proceed even more slowly from there.

2. Make surroundings more appealing. Extend your cats' territory vertically. Provide separate but equal food dishes, litterboxes, toys, beds and scratching posts. Employ pheromone-based products to comfort them. Lavish them with playtime and affection.

3. Consult a veterinarian or animal behaviorist if their interaction is consistently aggressive, even after you've repeated the introduction process.

4. Lower your expectations. Two cats living together may become best friends, but sometimes the best you can hope for is tolerance.
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tish    harpers ferry, WV

8/8/2011 4:12:34 AM

We are keeping our kitten in the front room and one bedroom, that way our older cats will still have a place to hide in our other two bedrooms. Two accepted her and two hiss at her and one of them attacks me. I know she's jealous so I pay attention to her and gave her extra treats. I LOVE THE ARTICLES HERE

Sue    DePere, WI

2/21/2008 7:05:12 PM

Seventeen years ago, I didn't have a clue about introducing a second cat to the household. I brought in an 8 week old kitten named Johnny. Mollie was slightly older, by about 10 weeks. When Johnny came in, he spread-eagled over the food dish, and began eating. The dish was bigger than him. After he ate, he used the litterbox. He then proceeded to play with the toys, but he particularly loved a pink ball with a bell on it. He became a top-notch fetcher, self-taught. I realized what a disservice it had been to Mollie to drop that gregarious kitten into the house without introducing them properly. Thank goodness they became great companions in spite of my naivete about introducing territorial animals. Sadly, Johnny was euthanized due to poor health a little over 2 weeks ago. Mollie is still here mourning the death of her "brobro". I was lucky they liked each other almost immediately, because I've heard that sometimes cats that aren't introduced properly might never get along.

shelby    barron, WI

2/21/2008 5:01:10 PM

it's easier if they are both kittens when u get them especially siblings

Laurie    Erie,, PA

2/21/2008 3:47:42 PM

Great tips

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