- Soft Paws® Can Help a Cat Adjust to a New Cat in the Home
Soft Paws® Can Help a Cat Adjust to a New Cat in the Home
Bringing a new cat into a home where there is already a cat can be a fun time, but sometimes it doesn't go as smoothly as we'd like. Here are some tips for introducing new cats along with information about how Soft Paws® can help.
Separate the Cats in the Beginning
When you bring home a new cat, it's a great idea to separate him from the resident cat initially. You can do this by preparing a small room for the new cat, loading it up with all the essentials like a litter box, food and water, a scratching post, a cat bed, and some cat toys.
Separating the cats in this way serves a couple of purposes. One, it allows you to monitor your new cat for any health problems that might appear in the first few days and which might be contagious to your resident cat, such as external or internal parasites or an upper respiratory infection.
Second, separating the cats this way allows the resident cat to get used to the idea of a new cat in her territory without having to deal with him directly at first. She can smell and hear him, but he hasn't been given full range of her territory yet.
Make Supervised Introductions
Once you're sure your new cat is healthy and ready to meet your resident cat, do so in a supervised manner rather than just allowing the new cat out and letting them both have free reign. If he will tolerate it, keep the new cat on a harness and leash and let the resident cat come over to introduce herself.
Some other ways to introduce the cats slowly include:
- Opening the door a crack and letting them investigate one another a little bit while you're right there.
- Using baby gates to give the cats some separation while they get used to each other.
- Feed the cats on different sides of a large room.
- Get a helper and play with each cat in separate areas of the room. The playful spirit might make them want to play together, which would be a great, positive first experience together.
Be sure to use a gentle, calm voice, and lots of praise during this introduction. Give your cats treats and make it a generally positive experience to be interacting with one another.
Expect some growling and swatting, but don't let the cats fight. If you need to stop a fight, clap loudly with your hands or spray a bit of water toward the cats. Don't get your body physically between the cats.
If the cats appear to make friends and begin playing together right away, that's excellent news. You might not have to do too many supervised visits before you can allow the cats to be together. If they are hesitant or do any hissing, growling, or swatting at each other, you will need to continue short, supervised visits for longer.
Additionally, using a Feliway diffuser or spraying Feliway in the room where the visits are to occur can help keep both cats calmer when they meet and interact. Feliway mimics feline calming pheromones, and it can go a long way toward easing introductions between cats.
How Soft Paws® Can Help
Outfitting both your new and resident cat with Soft Paws® claw caps can help ease introductions and allow things to go more smoothly. If they do swat at one another, they're less likely to hurt each other when they're wearing the caps, and that's a good thing for their future relationship. If one swats the other and scratches an eye, for example, the cat that was injured may develop a lasting fear or aggression toward the one that hurt him.
Managing a Multicat Home
Once the cats are acquainted, and you feel that they can be unsupervised and both have full range of the house, remember that you still have work to do. You must always ensure that both cats feel that they have enough territory and access to sufficient resources. Here are some ways to do that:
- You need a litter box on every floor of your home and at least one more box than you have cats (you should have at least three boxes for two cats).
- Food and water stations should be separate because cats don't like to eat and drink in the same area. Make sure you have as many stations as cats.
- Scratching posts in high traffic areas are crucial to happy, healthy cats, especially in multi-cat households. Cats use scratching to mark their territory and relieve stress.
- Be sure each cat has access to you for interactive play times and cuddles.
- Vertical space can really help in multicat households. Tall cat trees or catwalks bolted to the wall up high are great for reducing stress and improving interactions between cats.
- Use Feliway routinely. If your cats have a tendency to dislike one another, consider Feliway Multicat.
Having cats is fun, and most cats get along fine, but a little extra attention to these things will set your multi-cat household up for even more success.