You would think that introducing cats to each other for the first time would be a relatively simple thing.
After all, the domestic cat is a friendly soul, who likes nothing more than to greet everyone he meets with a gentle head nudge, right? Well, not always I'm afraid.
Although some cats can live quite happily with other pets, it does very much depend on the individual cat and how they have been brought up from birth as well as their own personal temperament.
There are never any guarantees that two cats or other pets will get along and harmony within the household may become a thing of the past in some cases.
On this page you will find out:
How Introducing new cats without the fur flying is doable.
How changing the home environment can help new cats to get along.
Find out how a cat may perceive other animals and how they react to them.
Why some cats get along and other do not.
The whole process of introducing cats to each other has to be done slowly and carefully from the very beginning. If not, then the whole situation can become much worse and you may find that you have two cats that try to attack each other whenever they come into contact. This may even lead to a situation where it is safer and fairer to have one of the cats re-homed.
The process of introduction can take from anywhere between three to four days to a week. In some cases the process may need to be repeated a little time afterwards to help reinforce the message.
The steps to take when introducing cats to each other are:
After a few days and when you feel that your new cat is confident in it’s new environment:
Once cats have gone through this process of introduction in a calm and reassuring environment, they will eventually stop feeling threatened by each other and should stop reacting to each other in an aggressive way.
The Introducing cats process can still be carried out even if the cats involved have known each other for years. Sometimes due to certain circumstances, cats can lose confidence in each other and begin to act aggressively towards each other. When this happens going through this introduction process with your cats can help restore the peace.
It is important for your cats to feel that they have their own little part of the home which they can call their own. It is therefore important that as owners we provide each cat with their own things when introducing cats to the household.
These items are a must:
In the wild, cats do not hunt or live in packs like dogs and are generally far more independent creatures. Their main preoccupation in the wild is to have enough to eat and to be able to mate with as many other cats as possible. (Did you know that female cats are the only animal that can mate with several different Tom cats and produce one litter with off spring from each of these Tom cats?)
This means that territory is of the highest importance to them. So the intrusion of another cat onto their territory is a threat to their food supply and mating precedence. This is why when introducing cats for the first time they generally feel threatened and react with aggression.
However some cats are quite able to get on with other cats and pets in a domestic situation as many owners can testify. It is not unusual for many households to contain 2 or more cats, all who get along with each other reasonably well with perhaps just the odd spat as long as the food supply is plentiful, there is plenty of space and there is enough fuss and attention to go round.
Some cats however do find it very hard to accept another pet into their territory and this can mean fights and tension within the household and this can be very stressful for both cats and owners alike.
The reason for this is all down to how the cat was introduced to other cats and animals from birth. The first 7 weeks of a cats life is known as the sensitive period and it is during this time a cat needs to meet lots of different animals, people and other cats so that they become far more accepting of them throughout their lives.
These cats have been used to sharing affection, food and living space, and so do not feel threatened when a new cat is introduced to their home environment. As long as the new cat feels the same way, they should get on together happily after a time.
Of course the cats individual personality is also a factor and some cats are just simply loners or are a bit grumpy, in which case these cats should not be homes with other pets.
However, it may still be possible for two cats to get along amicably, even if they never become bosom buddies. It is important that cat owners take an active role in cat introduction to each other and make a real effort in helping to reassure their animals that there is nothing to be afraid of.
But be warned do not have unrealistic expectations of what you want to happen. Sometimes it simply is not possible to make cats like each other and the best that you can expect is a sort of truce between them. Plus if you are anxious about the situation this will be sensed by the cats and could simply make the matter worse. Patience and calm is the order of the day in this situation.
Unfortunately I do hear of cases where owners have tried introducing cats to each other and they just won’t get along. Rather nasty fights may break out all the time, resulting in injury, or one of the cats to be terrorised by the other and so become a timid and frightened creature.
In these cases I would say that the kindest thing to do for both of your cats is to re-home the newest cat into a home where they can regain their confidence and live a happy relaxed existence.
Your existing cat will also benefit, as they will no longer feel threatened in their own home and can return to being the happy cat they once were. I realise this is a hard decision for owners to make, but never the less a very considerate one.