How to introduce a new cat into your home

It can be a scary thing to bring a new pet into your home, but it’s an even scarier thing when that new pet is another cat. The last thing you want to do is upset the balance in your house with another animal stealing food and scratching up furniture. Luckily for you, some easy ways I can share to avoid the worst of that.

by David Stone

Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

focus photography of two cats
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on

Let’s start with a worst-case scenario. You got yourself a ball of fluff who is cute as can be, but wild and loud. You don’t know if it would be worth your while even attempting an introduction unless he or she has been in captivity before (like at an animal shelter). If this is not the case, then it’s probably best to just go ahead and introduce them without any initial contact.

Now, that doesn’t mean throwing two strangers together without some warm-up time. If you’ve got an all-indoor resident cat, a rescued cat may smell very strange to him or her. One of our cats seemed not to believe that the rescue we brought home was even a cat – until he was cleaned up.

We’ve done this several times in our house, and although the mix is always different, our results were always successful. We were able to settle the newcomer in without much fuss. There are always surprises because all cats, just like people, are different. They do things their own way, and usually, that means working things out peacefully.

One step at a time with a new cat

Mandatory first step: Put the new cat in a room by himself with food and water and let him acclimate for a few days. Keep an eye on his behavior; if he seems agitated or scared you will know that an introduction right away is not the way to go.

You’ll probably see the cats sniffing under the door. The feline word is more of smells than sights or sounds. Cats make sent maps of their world, and they are getting to know each other. Since their world of scents is so much broader than ours, we probably don’t know what information they are getting from those sniffs.

After you have done this for a few days, take your other cat or cats and introduce them to the new cat one at a time. Keep it casual and just let everyone sniff each other. If all goes well, you can then allow them to socialize together while you supervise from a little distance.

Another option is to get yourself some Feliway, which is a synthetic feline facial pheromone. This will give your new cat the feeling of comfort and security so that he or she won’t feel threatened by any other, resident cats. This should also help your resident cat adjust to his new soon-to-be brother or sister.

Getting over the hump…

When you make the introduction, all members of your family should be calm. Give your other cats a few minutes to sniff around and get over their initial reaction before playing with them or giving them treats. If there is any sort of aggression from either animal, separate them again for a little while longer.

The most important thing you can do when introducing a new cat to your home is to be patient.

Once everyone gets used to each other, you should no longer have any problems with them sharing your space.

But if you do, you may want to try something else. Try the Feliway again, or you could purchase a special collar for your old cat. These collars have a pheromone compound in them so that the existing cats feel more comfortable around each other.


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