Introducing a New Cat to your Home

Jul 21, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

Buddy had lived with May since he was a kitten. About four years later, May thought she was getting too busy to spend an adequate amount of time with Buddy. She adopted a one year old neutered male, Bubbah. She put food, water and a bed on one end of the guest room and a litterbox at the other. Bubbah settled in and May spent as much time as she could becoming friends. She bought special toys and a special climbing tree just for him.

The introduction of a new cat into the household must be done carefully. Cats who live in colonies in the wild drive away strangers. Buddy’s instinct will be the same. After a time in separate quarters, slow introductions can be made. A door that is open enough for the cats to see one another (but not touch) is a good first step. The extra resources – feeding place, water bowl, cat tree, resting place – are important. Each cat should have everything he needs and no need to share. As solitary hunters, sharing isn’t a concept they are willing to accept.

Supervised “dates” come next, as the cats are introduced to each other. If there is nervousness, an escape route is key. Food helps as a distraction. If they ignore each other that is the best outcome. Slowly increasing the time they are allowed to be in the same part of the house over time will reduce the stress of the “foreign” cat occupying the “home range” of the previously “only” cat. This is seen as an invasion if it takes place too quickly and the natural reflex to either drive the stranger away or flee himself can be prevented.

It is important to have realistic expectations. These two cats will likely tolerate one another and divide up the house into a timesharing arrangement. It is rare for two unrelated adults to become bonded, though it is not impossible.

Dr Elizabeth Colleran

Diplomate ABVP Specialty in Feline Practice

Dr Colleran attained both her Masters (in Animals and Public Policy) and Doctorate from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. She opened Chico Hospital for Cats in 1998 and the Cat Hospital of Portland in 2003. In 2011, she became President of the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

Dr Colleran is a member with: American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, and American Association of Feline Practitionesr.

Chico Hospital for Cats
548 W East Ave,
Chico, CA

Phone: 530-892-2287‎

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Cat Hospital of Portland
8065 SE 13th Ave
Portland, OR 97202

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