Introducing A New Cat

Unfortunately, most cat owners who decide to add another cat to their home do not stop to consider the gravity of their ambitions.  They assume that all they have to do is call a meeting, take the new cat out of its carrier, present it to the old cat and say, “Tom, this is Jerry.  He’s going to be playing with your toys, using your litter box, drinking from your water bowl and sharing the bed with us.  Isn’t he cute?”

At which point Tom is thinking “Right.  He’s about as cute as a dried-up hairball.  If that sucker tries to sleep in my bed, I’ll close his eyes for good.”

Introducing one cat to another, while not as difficult as negotiating peace in the Middle East, does require some forethought.  The following advice should help to smooth the introductory process.

First your present cat should be altered and up on all shots and tests.  Even though your new cat has been tested for Feline leukemia and received all its shots, it still needs to be quarantine in an area that is not close to any of Tom’s favorite resting places.  The idea is to fit Jerry into Tom’s routine, not to make Tom feel dethroned.  For the first few days they can exchange sniffs and resumes from either side of a closed door.

When you feel the time is right – and you have clipped everyone’s claws – open the door and let the interview begin.  Do not be discouraged by hissing, growling, back arching, or big-tail displays.  This is not the Bachelorette Show; it will not be love at first sight.  If Tom and Jerry manage to occupy the same room on three or four successive days without trying to give one another a buzz cut, you might begin to feel comfortable leaving them unsupervised, but do not leave the house just yet.

It is also advisable to provide each cat with its own food dish, scratching post and litter box.  Cats, like most perpetual youngsters, do not like to share.

Finally, put yourself in your cats place.  How would you feel it your spouse, roommate or whatever brought someone home one day without consulting you, then announced that that individual was going to be living in your house?  An announcement of that kind in the human world is often followed by a visit from the SWAT team.  Why should a cat’s reaction be any different?  In time, harmony will abound and you will walk in to see your two combatants curled up sleeping in loving bliss.

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