Introducing a new cat into a home that already contains one can be difficult for the owner and for both felines. Wildcats stake out individual territories and guard them so zealously that they rarely encounter another of their kind (except during breeding season). When you bring home a new feline, you are in effect asking your current cat to share its domain. Fortunately, if handled properly, this situation can be resolved to everyone’s mutual satisfaction. However, it can sometimes take weeks or even months for two felines to fully acclimate to each other.
▪ Before it comes to your home, the new cat should be taken to a veterinarian for a physical examination, tests for feline leukemia and feline AIDS, and an update of all vaccinations, if necessary.
▪ Confirm that your current cat is also parasite-free and fully vaccinated.
▪ Upon bringing the new cat home, place it in its own private room with its food and water bowls, litter box, scratching post, and toys. Keep it there for several days, until it calms down and adjusts to you and to its new surroundings.
▪ Allow the resident cat to investigate the door of the room where the new cat resides. Do not open the door.
▪ After the cats become acclimated to each other, open the door slightly (secure it with a doorstop to keep it from opening too far) and allow them to meet face-to-face for brief periods.
▪ Place the new cat in a pet carrier and take it to the main living area. Allow it and the original cat to interact. Feed them treats to make the encounter more pleasant. Repeat until both felines seem comfortable with each other.
▪ Allow the cats to spend time together uncrated but supervised. Begin with brief (5 to 10 minutes) encounters. Gradually increase the time they share together until separation is no longer necessary.
If two cats fight, do not attempt to separate them using your hands. This is an invitation to serious injury. A loud noise may be sufficient to cause both cats to disengage. If that fails, try squirting water on them or, perhaps, tossing a pillow or article of clothing.