You have a big heart and a forever home just waiting for you to adopt a pet and introduce them to your loving family. As good-intentioned as we humans are, cat adoption can be a scary thing for a cat! Bringing a new cat home doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking for all of you. Cats prefer stability and don't love changes to their routine or environment. Bringing that scaredy-cat home and integrating them into your life is easier than you think. If you're looking to adopt a pet cat or you’ve just adopted one, here are some tips for introducing a new cat into your home.
Tips to Get Started:
Be sure to cat-proofthe areas of your home to which your new cat has access.
Find out beforehand what kitty litter your new cat has been using, and try to use the same brand.
Also, use the same brand of cat food your new cat has been eating, at least at first.
Prepare a small, separate, “safe room” for your new arrival. This room will be a place that’s quiet and away from other pets and people. Include a new bed for them too!
Be sure there's enough room to place food and water, a cat bed, and cat litter at a distance from one another to prevent cross-contamination.
Finally, if your new cat lets you pet them, you can attempt to groom them as well. It's a great way to bond with your cat.
You’ve successfully completed introducing a new cat to its safe room, so now you can start introducing the new arrival to your resident cat. Lynne Miller's PetMD article reminds us that introducing a new feline to your cat's home is exactly like bringing home a new roommate. It requires special preparation and handling. Here are some steps to ease the transition.
Separate them at first so they’re out of sight, smell and mind from your first cat's living quarters.
Outside the safe room, allow your resident cat to sniff around the closed door and get used to the scent of the new resident.
When your resident cat appears comfortable with the new cat's scent, put up a baby gate in the doorway of the safe room.
Set time aside for sneak-peak sessions. First, cover the new cat's cage so that the other cat can't see him or her. And have treats handy that each cat really enjoys. When both cats are calm and receptive, reveal the new cat in the cage quickly, and reward each cat after each positive exposure.
Once the sneak peek stage goes well, start feeding each cat similar meals that both like by placing the bowls on each side of the gate. Each day make the meals smaller but more frequent, placing the bowls closer and closer together.
Set up playtime. Provide each cat with a similar toy, like a rod with feathers at the end. Have a friend assist you if necessary as you play with each cat at the same time. Make the play sessions short, increasing them gradually. Always end the play sessions on a positive note and reward each cat.
For the next step, look for the following positive signs: the cats are resting by the gate, purring, glancing at each other, and even rubbing against the gate. Reward these positive behaviors with a treat, and keep the contact period between the two cats short. Increase the time gradually.
Lastly, remove the barrier and supervise the visit. Keep something on hand, like a piece of cardboard, that you can grab and put in place quickly if things get tense. As always, keep the supervised play sessions short, reinforce with treats, and end on a happy note.
Eventually, aim for unsupervised play where both cats can roam freely.
Introducing a new cat to your home or another pet that is already in your home takes some time. Patience usually pays off with cats. After all, they aren’t that hard to please, they just want love, food, and shelter. Everything else is just gravy on the kibble. Contact us to learn more about us or our stylish and durable Kitty Kasas line of cat furniture!
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