Introducing Your Newly Adopted Cat to Your Other Kitty
6 November, 2015
If you have just adopted a kitty and are bringing him home to meet your favorite feline at home, there might be a little tension at first. Some cats instantly get along, while others take some time to adjust. Particularly if you have had only one cat at home and now your newly adopted kitten is getting your attention. Your older cat might feel jealous and not welcome your new kitty readily, but with some time and effort, you can help your kitties to become good friends.
It is normal for there to be some hissing, posturing and a little fighting at first, but if this doesn’t end after a few days, then you might need to take some action. Just like us, not all cats get along because they have different personalities and might not be good roommates, but they can co-exist.
What kind of play aggression is normal for cats?
It’s common for kittens and young cats to engage in rough, active play. Cats stalk, chase, sneak, pounce, swat, kick, scratch, ambush, attack and bite each other… this is all in good fun. If they’re playing, it’s usually reciprocal. Their ears are typically forward in play, their claws may be out but they don’t cause damage, and their bodies lean forward not back. If their ears are up and the claws are out, this is not fun playing, but aggression.
We are besties now!
Below are some ways to help your cats to get along:
1. Introduce them slowly while you can monitor how the meet and greet is going. If all goes smoothly, give them more time together. If they are not getting along, bring them back to their respective spaces.
2. Separate their food bowls and litter boxes. You can reduce competitiveness between the cats by having multiple, identical food bowls, beds and litter boxes in different areas of your house. Designate each bowl and/or litter box to each cat so they feel they don’t have to share.
3. If your cats start to fight, try to stop the fighting by clapping your hands, spray from a water gun or a burst of compressed air (no noise).
4. Make sure that your cats are neutered. Male neutered cats tends to be less aggressive.
5. Try to add different perching and/or hiding spots. More hiding spots and perches will allow your cats to space themselves out as they prefer and feel as if they have their own tef.
6. Don’t try to calm or soothe your aggressive cat, just leave her alone and give her space. If you come close, your cat could turn and redirect her aggression toward you.
7. Reward your kitties when they are getting along. Praise or toss treats to reward your cats when you see them interact as they should; and, of course, hugs and rub down work too.
8. Try pheromones. There are different products on the market that mimic a natural cat odor (which humans can’t smell), may reduce tensions. Use a diffuser while the aggression issue is being resolved.
9. Take a t-shirt or cloth and rub each cat and then give each cat the other cat’s shirt to smell or put it in your kitty’s spot. This will help them feel more comfortable with each other and get used to their scent.
If your cats don’t get along after trying all of the above, don’t feel discouraged. It can take two weeks to two months for them to get along. If the above does not work, try consulting a cat behaviorist.