6 tips for introducing a new cat to your home

Even the sweetest kitties can get catty when a new feline shows up at the house.

Cats are territorial and do not naturally form bonds with other cats.

If you properly introduce the resident cat and the new arrival, however, it can set the stage for long-term harmony in your home. PetSafe® has cat products and solutions that can help ease the transition. Here are some pointers to help your cat make a new feline friend.

  1. Safe zone. Give the new cat a temporary space in a safe zone such as a bedroom or bathroom away from other pets. This transition period should last about two weeks. More time may be needed for especially anxious or nervous cats.
  2. Water and food sources. Since you’ll want to initially limit interaction between cats, provide the new kitty her own water and food sources. PetSafe® pet fountains are a great source of fresh, filtered water that will encourage hydration during this stressful time. Food can be a catalyst for conflict. You are already busy and now you are caring for two cats, so convenience is a priority. You can program food portions and meal times with a PetSafe® Smart Feed Automatic Pet Feeder.
  3. Play. Treat-dispensing toyscan provide the physical and mental exercise your pet needs when getting used to a new space. Vertical spaces like cat trees or clear windowsills can provide entertainment when she is alone.
  4. Bond. It’s important to build a bond with your new friend during this adjustment period, so take time to quietly interact with her.
  5. Introduce your cats. The next step is a gradual introduction between your resident cat and the new cat. Before they see each other, wipe one cat with a towel, then present the towel to the other cat. Then wipe that cat with the same towel and present it to the first cat. Repeat this process until the cats seem relatively unaffected by the scent of the towel.
  6. Increase interactions. Let the cats see each other through a barrier. A baby gate placed in a doorway is perfect for this exercise. Increase the chances of a smooth introduction by giving each cat a dish of her favorite food. Place the bowls far enough apart that the cats notice each other but are calm enough to eat. Close the door as soon as the first cat has finished eating. Move the bowls closer together at the next session if the cats continue to eat and refrain from hissing or growling. Soon the cats will be eating very close together on opposite sides of the gate.

There are several options for the next step in the introduction. You can allow the cats to sniff without food, repeat the food bowl introduction without the barrier, or encourage them to play together with a feather toy wand or a toy like the Peek-A-Bird™ cat toy. Many cats continue to tolerate or even become friendly with each other after a controlled, reward-filled introduction. A veterinary behaviorist is a great resource for more information.

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