Helping new cats settle into a household where there’s already a cat
This is beautiful 8 week old Willow who came in to see us recently for a kitten check. She’s being welcomed into a household where there’s already another cat so both are getting used to change. Introducing a new feline friend to a new house and a new feline housemate can be a worry for all! Read on for some top tips on helping new and existing cats acclimatise and accept each other:
Initially, keep your new cat in a separate room for a couple of days with bedding, a food bowl, a litter tray, a scratch post, toys – everything they might ordinarily need for comfort and mental and physical activity. This gives them time to acclimatise to the move without being overwhelmed by too many new experiences. Repeatedly scent swap between cats. To do this, gently rub a clean sock over one cat’s face, cheeks, head and neck to pick up their scent, and then gently transfer to the other’s to help both get used to the scent of their new housemate.
Next, allow your new feline friend to have the run of the house without the other cat present. This gives them the chance to get a feel of the house and get further used to existing feline scents. Once your new friend returns to their room, your existing cat will smell the new cat around the house too which all helps with encouraging acceptance.
When you feel new cat is ready, leave the door open to their room so that they can explore and finally meet their feline housemate! Supervise when you first make introductions. Build up contact time steadily. You can encourage interaction by playing with a cat toy whilst both felines are in the same room. And feeding cats in the same area but distanced apart helps let them know neither is a threat at feeding time.
For further advice and support on settling in new feline friends, give us a ring on 01922 411755 to book in to one of our nurse-led feline behaviour clinics.