How to Successfully Introduce a Second Cat into Your Home
Thinking of adding a second cat to your home? Learn about what to expect and how age can play a role in how your current cat will accept a new feline family member.
Cats by nature are independent, solitary, fiercely territorial creatures. They also are one of the most instinctively jealous of all companion animals. While cats tend to prefer their own company over that of other animals, relationships between cats can flourish. Typically, their relationship becomes most solid when two young cats are brought into the household at the same time. However, it certainly is possible to introduce a second cat into an existing-cat home. It just will take time and patience. Here are a few suggestions that may help both of the cats adjust to one another without too many conflicts.
Introducing Young Cats
Kittens and young adolescent cats almost always adjust easily to one another in no time at all. The best way to introduce them is simply to place the new kitten in the home and watch it and the resident cat interact. A few hisses and growls are to be expected, but as long as the youngsters don’t become too physically aggressive in their interactions, they probably don’t need to be interrupted. Tossing a few toys around the area to encourage playtime can help focus their attention on something besides each other. For the first few days, it probably is best to keep the young cats in separate rooms when you are not home.
Introducing Older Cats
It is much more difficult to bring a mature cat into a household that already has an adult cat in residence. The resident typically resents the newcomer and becomes intensely jealous, possessive fiercely territorial. It can take a long time to reach the point where two adult cats even tolerate one another, and they may never become friends or playmates. The new cat should be kept in a separate room for at least a few days, and maybe more. The cats will sniff each other under the door and probably will spit, hiss and growl. They may swat at the door to show their displeasure with the whole situation. The resident cat should be given lots of attention and reassurance during this time. The newcomer also needs affection and time with its new owner to become acclimated. Things should calm down after a few days, and the new cat can be let out of its room. The cats may continue to hiss and growl will need to be separated again if they become dangerously aggressive. Most authorities recommend that the resident cat be given senior privileges, such as being petted first, fed first, greeted first, held first, etc. Other people suggest that both cats receive the same amount of attention. In either case, the cats shouldn’t be fed right next to each another, although they can be fed in the same room. It may be helpful to keep two litterboxes in two different areas, to reduce competition. Both cats will need an extra dose of one-on-one attention from their owner for quite some time. Hopefully, in time, the two cats will become used to each other and learn to coexist in relative peace. Better yet, they may even become friends.
Introducing a Younger Cat to an Older Cat
Adding a kitten to a household can rejuvenate a geriatric cat and restore his inner kitten. He may enjoy the companionship and have improved health from the added mental and physical stimulation. The kitten almost always will view the older cat as dominant and will adopt a submissive role. Introducing a kitten to a resident adult should be handled in much the same way as introducing two mature cats. Unfortunately, many older cats are perfectly content being the only cat in the house and resent having even a youngster disturb their peaceful, quiet existence. This is especially true for aging cats that have been the only pet in the household for most of their life.
Spayed or Nutered cats will tend to be less territorial and less aggressive when being asked to share their lving space with another cat.