4 min.

Welcoming a new cat at home

Are you planning on adopting a new feline companion when you already have one or more cats? There are different strategies you can try to maximize the chances that harmony will reign.

A friend for your cat?

First, you should know that the cat is basically a more solitary animal, but still able to live in a group if there are enough resources to meet the needs of each member. So, depending on his character and life experiences, there’s a good chance that the arrival of a newcomer in the environment could significantly disrupt the established cat’s routine and cause him a lot of stress. This is why a meeting between unknown cats must be smooth and fun in order to increase the chances of a good relationship or, at least, that they’ll tolerate each other.

The right moment to introduce them to each other

What would you say if you were forced onto a roommate who you’d never met, showing up one evening without ever leaving and using your personal effects immediately? Unpleasant, isn’t it? It’s the same with adding a new cat to the family. Their character will definitely be different and some cats can become very close and enjoy the company of another. On the other hand, some cats will never sleep side by side and will never play together, but it’s important at least that they tolerate each other because they share the same environment.

To achieve this, you’ll have to gradually introduce the cats by isolating the newcomer in a room with his personal belongings. Over time, the cat will become more comfortable in his room and the previous cat can smell him under the door. When both cats are comfortable and show no sign of being stressed by the other’s presence, it will be possible to make brief introductions using the door as a barrier to avoid contact. Always remember that these sessions should be enjoyable for both felines, without exceeding their tolerance thresholds. Both should stay at a reasonable distance from each other; try offering them each a tasty feast for the occasion. Over the course of days or weeks, it will be possible to gradually bring their bowls closer and possibly even open the door and let them smell each other. Proceeding this way will cause much less stress to the cats, who can deduce by association that the other cat represents something pleasant, because its presence portends something appealing (food).

Adapt the house

Cats can live together if there are enough resources to meet each one’s needs. For the cat, a resource is something he uses or brings him pleasure. For example, laying on Ms.’s legs on the chair, Mr. petting him on the bathroom counter in the morning, litter boxes, food, the shelf near the window that gives a breathtaking view of the birds in the tree, etc. All of these are resources that individuals sharing the same environment must split between each other and agree on who uses what and when. The logic is simple; the more cats there are in a house, the more resources must be added. There will be fewer conflicts between cats wishing to take over the same resource.

Cat trees, high shelves, access to windows and litter boxes (ideally one more than the number of cats) should all be distributed in different rooms and in abundance in homes where several cats live. Thus, rather than arguing over a resource, they’ll be able to choose an alternative.

Promote a good relationship on a daily basis

It’s not just at the time of the introduction that cats have to spend good time with each other, we can also remind them regularly that the other is nice!

To achieve this, make sure that the cats spend pleasant moments in the presence of each other. For example, meals can be served side-by-side in interactive bowls, and playing sessions with fishing rod-style poles can be offered at the same time so that everyone can let out their energy.

In short, there is no sure-fire method for cats to get along well, because several factors are to be considered such as their personality and life experiences, the environment offered, introductions, etc. Fortunately, it’s possible for pet parents to promote healthy cohabitation. In some cases, it may be necessary to get personalized advice from a feline behaviourist or veterinarian.