Adding Another Cat
Let’s face it, with cats taking over the internet, we all want multiple cats so we can swoon over their fuzzy cuddle puddle! Many of us tend to think that cats are solitary animals, however, that’s not entirely the case. Generally, cats greatly benefit from social interaction with other cats as well as other animal (yes, dogs included!). Having another cat provides mental and physical stimulation as well as companionship.
How do you know if a second cat is right for your family? Read on to find out.
I want to adopt multiple cats at once!
If you’re planning to adopt multiple cats at once, younger kittens tend to more easily accept other kittens as part of their social group, especially if they are littermates. If they aren’t from the same litter, that’s okay too since shelters and fosters will identify bonded pairs to adopt out! A bonded pair happens when two cats form a strong bond and become inseparable. So, if you’re looking for two cats, consider a bonded pair since their happiness and well-being are reliant on being together.
What if I already have a cat and want to add another one?
While cats are sociable creatures, each cat is unique and the decision to add another feline should be based on your cat. If your cat has been around other cats without excessive aggression or fear, adding another kitty to your family will be a wonderful and exciting change.
It’s important to remember that not all cats are meant to be with other felines -- and that’s okay! The good news is that they will make it pretty clear if they prefer to be the sole kitty getting the love and attention.
People often wonder if age matters when getting a second cat. Adult cats will more easily accept a kitten because cats are territorial. Adult cats can certainly be introduced together, it just may take more time! Expect about 2-4 weeks to introduce a kitten and 4-6 weeks to introduce an adult cat.
Introducing new cats to your house
Adding another cat to your household may take weeks or months to adjust. If you introduce new cats too quickly, they fight and never learn to co-exist. Here are some easy steps to follow and help successfully introduce your new kitty.
- Create a safe place for your new cat with its own food, water, litterbox, and water.
- Gradually let them get used to each other – this is best done by feeding them on opposite sides of the door, which allows the cat to associate a positive activity with the presence of another cat. Slowly move the bowls closer with each feeding. Once the cats can eat calmly directly across from each other, open the door a crack to they can see each other while eating. Leave the door open just long enough for them to get a glimpse of each other.
- Give your new cat a chance to explore – when your new cat is comfortable with their new home, allow him/her to explore the house while your resident cat is in another room. The goal is to expose the new cat to your resident cat’s scent without direct contact.
- Monitor their first encounter and limit their time together. It’s expected to see some hissing, crouching or other signs of aggressive behavior, but don’t let them build this pattern of behavior. If it continues or intensifies, go back to step one.
- If a fight breaks out, distract the cats and separate them. Lure the new cat back to its safe room and let both cats calm down for a few days. We don’t advise picking up either cat right after a fight because you might get scratched!
- Continue to supervise encounters as the cats interact with each other. Be prepared to distract with toys or treats, which helps avoid conflict but also lets the cats associate good things when the other cat is near.
- Keep your resident cat on his/her normal routine and ensure they get plenty of solo time with you. This is a big change! Even with successful integration, the cats may never become BFFs. Just like humans, you can’t force cats to like each other.
It’s important to keep an open mind when bringing in a second cat. Some cats will become best friends while others will learn to tolerate one another. A successful introduction does not mean a fuzzy cuddle puddle! It’s important to remember that each cat is unique and will react to new cats differently, and following these steps will help set you and your growing family up for success