Meet the New Kitty! Tips for Starting a Multi-Cat Family
(Per assignment this was written in the POV of an animal character belonging to Cuddle Clones )
I’ve seen it time and time again during my observations of humans possessing a behavioral inclination towards felines. You’re at the pet supply store buying some food for your resident cat and you notice that the local animal rescue is having a pet adoption event. In the corner, you spy a tiny kitten and you feel an instant connection with the tiny ball of fluff.
Without giving it another thought you sign the paperwork and head home brimming with elation. However, you are greeted with a less than hospitable tirade of hisses and growls from your –rather angry – fur child.
Never fear! For my expertise is behavior and I know how to settle such disputes amicably no matter the species! Following some simple steps will ensure that your new cat will transition into your family seamlessly.
Tips for a Peaceful Transition into a Multi-Cat Home:
Have both cats checked by a vet to make sure there are no underlying problems that could increase aggression.
Give them SPACE! If I’ve learned on thing about my compatriots it’s that they don’t much care for a nose in the face. Let your two cats have rooms away from one another so smell can be exchanged behind closed doors!
Wait 2-3 days and swap spaces! Cats do altogether better if they don’t see each other during the introduction, but rather smell each other’s scent from a distance.
Keep things positive! Feed and play with both cats near the entrance of the new cat’s isolation area. Enlist a friend to make it more fun!
This process must be gradual and can take several weeks in some situations. If successful the cats will remain peaceful when they greet each other. If your house turns into a war zone immediately following the meet and greet - start the introduction process over again.
Warning Signs to Watch for in a Multi-Cat Home:
Aggression: Hissing accompanied with growling, prolonged eye contact, bristled tails, and arched backs.
Urine Marking: It’s how we dogs say, “hello”, but it is how cats say, “go away, this is mine!” Urinating outside of a litter box often means your cat is stressed.
Resource Guarding: This can lead to bullying and aggression. Cats do not like to share so make sure each cat has its own food bowl, water bowl, and resting area. The golden rule for litter boxes is one for each cat then one extra.
Change is never easy for anyone but especially cats! Breath deep, have patience. I promise in time, you’ll have a peaceful multi-cat home.