Cat Adopter Resources
Introducing Your New Cat To Another Pet
from our Feline Specialist, Colleen Hickman
Introduce the New Cat to Your Home: read all about that process here
While the New Cat is in the Sanctuary Room: Your pet(s) will most likely sniff at each other under the door while your new cat is getting adjusted in the sanctuary room, and that is a great start! Remember to reinforce all positive interactions with a jackpot treat for each pet.
Scent Switcheroo: Once your new cat is showing confidence and comfort in the Sanctuary Room, put something that smells like your other pet(s) (like a blanket, bed, or toy) in the Sanctuary Room so that the new cat can get used to the other pets’ scent before meeting them face to face. Do the same for your other pets, putting something that smells like the new cat in their space.
Independent Exploration: When your new cat is ready to come out and explore, allow them to do so on their own at first. To further introduce via scent before the face to face introduction, put your other pets in the Sanctuary Room while allowing the new cat to roam and get used to its new environment without pressure from other animals. You may want to do a few different sessions of swapping the pets out until the new cat is showing confidence in the environment. Always return everyone to their original spaces and end each session with positive reinforcement.
Face to Face Introduction: With introducing any new cat to another pet, you want to do it on the new cat’s terms. NEVER hold the new cat or put the new cat in a carrier or crate for the introduction to your other pet(s). You may however have the other pet in a crate and/or on a leash if you have a dog. Let the cat approach the other pet(s) and continue to reinforce all positive interactions. Never punish the pets as this is already a scary situation for them, and punishment will make it worse for all involved. If you see hissing, growling, etc – this is likely just the cat communicating fear or apprehension while they are getting adjusted to their new siblings. Once all pets are calm and comfortable around each other, the other pet can be allowed out of the crate or off leash, where they will likely either sniff noses and/or walk away.
Remember: positive reinforcement and patience are key!