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Introducing your cat to other pets
Introducing your cat to other pets can be overwhelming. Do it stress free! Discover tips and important information on our website!
INTRODUCING A NEW KITTEN TO YOUR ADULT CAT
The good news is that adult cats tend to be kinder to kittens or young cats than to other adults. If both cats are sterilized, better still (as long as your vet believes the kitten is old enough to be sterilized).
Introduce the kitten to your cat before bringing it home, or during the first days of its arrival, so they get used to each other’s smell. Change its bedding several times over the first week and, if one of the cats becomes aggressive or nervous about the smell, try offering comfort and consolation by associating the new smell with a positive experience, such as a tasty snack.
INTRODUCING YOUR ADULT CAT TO A NEW ADULT CAT
If you are going to bring a new adult cat home and you already have another adult cat living there, follow these tips to make the introduction as successful and safe for everyone as possible:
- Start by keeping the two cats separate. Provide your new cat with its own room where it can stay for a couple of days with its own food, a warm bed, water bowls and litter box.
- While your new cat getting installed in its room, start to familiarize your old cat with the new one's smell. Let it your cat smell your hands and clothes. Talk to them affectionately and caress them reassuringly.
- Buy one or two synthetic pheromone sprays and connect diffusers throughout the house, especially in the rooms where your cats live, as this can help relax them and accept the presence of other cats.
- Once both cats feel comfortable with each other’s smell, you can let them explore each other’s territory while keeping them still separated.
- When you are sure that both of them feel relaxed in each other's territories, you can start introducing them to each other. Keep one of the cats safe in a mesh cage or pet carrier and let the other one explore and smell through the mesh for a few minutes. The cat in the box will be protected and this will mean neither of them will run away. The last thing you need right now is a crazy cat chase! Be watchful of their body language, there will be a certain amount of fixed staring, meowing and bristling as they get used to each other. This is completely normal behavior and will pass, so try not to overreact. If you think it's still too early to introduce them because they try to exchange blows, separate them for a while before trying again.
- You will have to do this exercise several times in different rooms, exchanging the “safe” and “free” cat roles until they react calmly to each other.
- Do not force the cats to be close to each other. Offer them lots of space and places to run away to if they just want some peace and quiet.
If all goes well, your two cats should become great friends, play with each other and clean or groom each other, but be patient. This type of relationship may take time to develop and it won’t happen as soon as you introduce them to each other.
If they seem to feel really uncomfortable in each other's company and there are no signs of improvement, separate them and ask to your vet for more cat tips. You may be referred to a feline educator who can offer you specialized help.
As a general rule, it usually takes two weeks for two cats to become friends. If you have spent two weeks following the previous tips, and despite your efforts they still don’t get along, ask yourself if your new cat would be happier in another home. It may be better for both cats if your consider the possibility of finding a new home for your new cat with a family whose every member can give it a warm welcome.
INTRODUCING YOUR NEW CAT TO YOUR DOG
Introducing a potentially nervous cat to an excitable dog should be done with care for the well-being of both pets. Follow our useful tips for a complication free introduction.
INTRODUCING A NEW CAT OR KITTEN TO YOUR PUPPY
The most important thing when introducing a new cat to your puppy is safety — both the dog's and the cat’s. An overexcited puppy can easily hurt a kitten and a scared cat can do a lot of damage with its claws. So take it easy, focus on the needs of both pets and help foster a wonderful friendship based on mutual respect.
INTRODUCING A NEW CAT OR KITTEN TO YOUR ADULT DOG
Even if your dog is used to cats — and is unlikely to do anything to your new cat or kitten- it’s important to be very careful when introducing them.
- When introducing your new cat to your dog, it’s crucial that both pets feel relaxed in each other’s company. Start by keeping your new cat safe inside a mesh cage or cat-proof dog basket and lead your dog towards it on a leash.
- Reward your dog for being calm and, and stay calm if it keeps barking.
- Repeat this process in different rooms, always making sure that both the cat and dog feel safe and secure.
- Once you are sure that both of them feel calm and relaxed, let the cat out of its cage or basket, but keep your dog on its leash.
- Stay calm -pets sense your stress- and let them get to know each other.
- Continue rewarding good and calm behavior. Repeat this process in as many rooms as possible.
- Supervise them until you know they will get along, and only leave your dog off its leash with the cat once you're sure it will not react or try to catch it.
- Make sure your cat has a high place to escape to that is out of your dog’s reach, in case it gets uncomfortable. If you have more than one dog, always introduce your cat to them one dog at a time.
- Make sure your dog doesn’t have access to your cat's litter box because, like scavengers they are, they will tend to eat the contents. It's not pretty, but it's true!
- Separate dogs and cats when feeding them so that both of them can eat in peace - you may want to feed them in separate rooms, or feed your cat on an elevated surface out of your dog’s reach. Make sure your cat has plenty of opportunities to hunt, stalk and pounce on mobile toys, as it’s likely that your dog won’t want its tail to be used as a toy.
The most important thing to keep in mind when introducing a new cat to another cat or dog is safety. If your dog is continuously nervous or aggressive with your cat (or vice versa), talk to your vet and consider consulting a pet training specialist.
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