Pawz-59Q: We would like to add another cat to our family. How do we introduce the new cat to our kittie at home?

A: So you’ve decided to get another friend for your current cat. These are some good tips on how to get you to transition from one cat liking each other to perhaps, cats becoming best friends. Best thing to do is go slow, and go gradual. You don’t want to just take two cats that are strangers, throw them into an environment together and expect everything to work out. It is highly unlikely that that will occur.

If you have two cats, its a good idea to maybe feed then on opposite sides of a door, a bedroom door, a bathroom door. Make sure the door is closed, with one cat on one side, and another cat on the other side. Put their food down on opposite sides of the door. This way they’re both separated by a door and they can both eat away from each other, but they’re not that far away. There is just one door separating them, and, as the cats start to eat, they will become more comfortable with each other. You can then open the door a little bit at a time so the cats can maybe poke their head in and see what the other cat is up to, see what they’re doing, and see how they respond. If you feel as if there’s a pretty good response and the cats seem to be liking each other, they’re sniffing, they’re even licking, then I would open the door a little more – maybe let them interact completely and see how they’re doing. If you’re not liking the reaction, they’re very shy, they’re hesitant, they’re hissing even, then you obviously know you need to give them a bit more time. But again, slow and gradual are really the most important things when introducing cats.

A good thing to do with cats in order to get them to like each other is to give them the same stimuli at the same time. As I mentioned with food, that’s a great one, as are exercising, playing with the cats, using a laser pointer, or throwing a catnip toy out there in the middle of the room. Remember to whatever you choose, you should supervise both of them. This kind of activity distracts them from what’s in front of them and they focus on just on what they’re suppose to be playing with at that particular time. Also, the earlier you do it, the better. If you have two cats that are not litter mates, but they happen to both be kittens, far more likely that they will get along as opposed to if they are 10 to 12 years old and they are put into the same environment at that age.

There are also the use of pheromones or other anti anxiety type sprays that your veterinarian can discuss the use of those with you. When you intro a cat into a new environment, or a new litter mate, or a new partner, anything like that, your going to have a little bit of stress and a lot of anxiety that they were previously not around. Using collars, sprays or diffusers will reduce the amount of anxiety and stress that your cat is feeling and will overall, make the adjustment period mush shorter and much easier. Repetition is definitely key, so positive reinforcement will definitely be a good idea for your cats.

Please do not think that yelling or screaming at your cats because they are not getting along will ever serve any purpose other than getting you more worked up, and your cats pretty much not caring at all.

So regardless of the reason your introducing new cats to each other, always make sure to be patient and being consistent will prevail.

Good luck with the newest addition.