How To Introduce Your New Kitty To The Family

Congratulations! You are now the owner of the cutest kitty in the world and want to introduce him or her to your current resident(s). Please don’t use the I’m-going-to-put-them-together-and-see-how-it-goes method. Fair notice: that does not work! You will doom yourself to failure. Two things to remember about cats: they are territorial and they hate change.

I have introduced 6 new kitties in my lifetime and I have accomplished my goal each time. The steps are easy, they just take time, observation, and patience. Lots and lots of patience.

Keep in mind that to them, this is a new home, new people, and, if you have other pets, strange new animals for the new kitty to get used to. All this could be stressful for your kitty and cats hate change. If you have any other cat(s) it will view the new kitty as an intruder and something to fear because in their nature they are very territorial.

I will be going over how to introduce a new kitty to a resident cat but if you don’t have any other cats disregard the steps that require other cats (i.e. feeding on different sides of the door).

First, you will need a room for your new kitty. Make sure it has available food, water, litter box, scratching post, and a comfy place to sleep. It should also have a “safe” place to hide. A large box turned upside down with a way for the kitty to enter and exit should work fine. It’s a much better alternative to hiding under the bed…

Next, you’ll need to establish a feeding schedule. If you have other cats and they are free fed you will have to get them on a schedule as well in order to make this work. When it is feeding time, you feed the new kitty on her side of the door and the other cats on the other side. The cats determine how far away from the door. I suggest starting at about 3 feet. If they are not eating or look stressed, move the food dishes further back. During this process, they will smell the other cats but not see them. Cats are more scent orientated than they are sight oriented.

Feed your kitty twice a day. Each feeding, move the bowls closer and closer to the door. Next, open the door slightly so they can get sight of each other as they eat. After a few days of that, let your resident cats into the new kitty’s room so they can explore and get used to the scent and let the new kitty explore the rest of the house. Start with an hour and work your way up. You’ll need to supervise this activity to make sure it goes well.

This process can take a while, patience is key here. You’ll want the new kitty to get used to the new home and feel safe and the current residents to also feel safe and not threatened.

When you feel the time is right, let them play together. It is helpful if you have someone to help you with this step. If there is hissing from either side, distract them with toys. All cats love to play. By petting the new kitty you are showing that she is a friend. Give lots of love and praise to them as they get closer.

This is the part where you cross your fingers and hope for the best! Remember, worst case, there is nothing wrong with peaceful co-existence.

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