A New Addition to the “Pride”

As with most domestic pets, cats have their own roster of fickle sides, from a kitty’s penchant to get stuck on trees to a cat’s views over other cats, often defined by the inability to stand each other's company, yet persistent in know what the others are up to.

Adding a new addition to a household stands to be one of those fickle sides, with many multiple-cat owners having to deal with turf wars and cat fights during new-cat introductions.

If you’ve recently added a new kitty to your household, here are some tips in helping your resident and new cat get along with the least amount of hisses, posturing and stray fur.
The Isolation Area Phase – ideally, a new kitty has to be isolated from other cats for a time (generally between 10 to 14 days), a first step that ensures safety for the new cat from being mauled or ganged on by resident cat(s), as well as a precautionary measure to ensure that no diseases are passed on to resident cats.

A spare bedroom or any unused space in the house are good isolation spaces, ensuring that contact between the new and resident cat(s) are left at minimum degrees. Also, it is advisable to have a non-family member or home resident bring in the new cat to the isolation room.

Don’t spend too much time with the new cat, since studies have shown that cats respond well to environmental changes and so much with social invitations. The bottom line is to give the new cat time to get settled to the changes in his/her environment, without the watchful eyes of the resident cat trained on the new cat.

The Settling In Phase – after the isolation phase, you can gradually facilitate the settling in of the new cat.

One method would be to gradually get resident cats familiar with the scent of the new cat, without necessarily letting them physically see each other.

You can play with the new cat in its isolation area without the resident cat(s) seeing, rubbing your hands (ergo passing its scent to your hands) over and around its coat. The resident cat won’t respond well to the new scent in your hands, and the idea is to get the resident cat familiar with the scent, until a time when the resident cat doesn’t get hostile whenever he/she gets a whiff of the new cat’s scent.

You can also use the new cat’s “bedspace” (blanket, shirt, or anything that the new cat spends a lot of time on) in reinforcing the new scent’s familiarity to a resident cat(s). One trick is associating the new scent with food, and this can be done by gradually positioning the new cat’s “bedspace” close to the resident cat(s) food area. The idea of this trick is to get resident cats comfortable with the scent being around, even to a point of linking the new cat’s scent with food treats.

The same methods can be done opposite with the new cat, also in ensuring that the new cat gets familiar with the resident cat’s scent.

The “Eyeballing” Phase – once the resident cat(s) have become accustomed with the new cat’s scent, visual contact is then in order, and gradual doses can be done in introducing new and resident cat(s) with each other.

One way would be to a rig tension grate over the new cat’s isolation space, allowing the kitty parties the chance to see each other, without giving them the chance to get into fights.

Chance meetings can be setup by positioning food bowls near the isolation area’s grates, something which can be setup for both new and resident cats.

The Meeting Phase – once the cats have become fairly accustomed with seeing each other, letting them meet up without any safeguards is next, and this meeting could last for 5 minutes to an hour, depending on the degree of tension between cats.

Facilitate meets gradually, and ensure that no fights will take place during meeting sessions. Once aggression levels during meets tone down (ideally with no aggression at al, even), you can leave the cats to be with each other’s company, though supervision will still be necessary.

Given time, new and resident cats will become used with having each other around, and by then, you can leave them unsupervised when within each other’s company.

Do well in keeping the points share here when introducing a new entry to your home’s pride, ensuring that a new addition seamless gets to become a part of the “tribe” in time.

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