In this blog post, we have written out the steps and methods you need to know in order to properly introduce another animal to your cat(s). If you are facing the situation of welcoming another pet member to your family soon, make sure to read on because there are some serious issues to consider.
Maybe your cat doesn't like it
My husband and I love animals. Period. I am sure the fact that you are reading this blog posts tells the same about you.
When we faced the challenge of introducing a bunny to our cats in 2013, we really wanted this to work out. We researched everything we could find and through the research we did and the books we have studies there is one thing we need to tell you upfront: Your cat might not like the animal, and that's not your fault.
Not everything is sugar and candy in the animal world. It doesn't matter whether you expensively raised your cat or adopted it at later stages, cats used to be predators and no matter how cute they seem, they will fight for their territory if needs be.
BUT: There are a few things you can do to set up a beautiful friendship instead of ferocious fights that nobody wats to see. Let's start with a few obvious arrangements:
Put your cat into a good mood
Make sure that before the 'new' animal and the cat(s) have any contact, your cat is fed, well rested and in a nice mood. This is due to the fact that cats can be extremely moody, just like human beings.
Once a cat has decided that it doesn't like somebody, it's quite hard to change its mind. So, make sure it's all happy and relaxed before you even mention the name of the new pet.
When it comes to exactly how to make your cat happy: Every cat is different, so that's up to you. A rule of thumb is to treat your cat with some snuggles in your arm and spoil it with its favorite food. Your cat will love it and thank you with a calm attitude.
Have your cat get used to the scent
Before you visually show the new pet to your cat, make sure to lock it up in a separate room where your cat doesn't have the access to. Because of the fact that cats have extremely good noses, your cat will start to pick up the new pet's scent and get used to it.
This way, your feline friend can slowly get used to the smell.
We recommend doing this for at least three days to make sure your cat is familiar with the animal even before being in contact with it visually or physically.
Your cat is jealous
Guess what, your cat is probably a jealous animal. This mean that you playing, speaking or interacting with somebody or something else can make it extremely jealous.
This is why it is important that when you first introduce your cat to the new pet, you are showing affection to your cat that day. Just as we have written above, make sure to snuggle and play with it a lot in these days.
Otherwise, you risk it being jealous of the new animal and this can get out of hand quickly! Remember: Cats used to be predators and you don't want to have a jealous predator around.
Your pet is your friend
Now, after you have set up your cat properly with a good amount of snuggles and got it used to the other pet's scent, you need to make sure of the following: Your cat MUST understand that the new pet isn't an intruder!
Your cat loves you and it's important for it that you are safe. If it feels like there could be some kind of threat imposed on you, it might take harsh actions.
So make sure you are gentle to the other pet when first introducing it to your cat. Talk to it softly, carefully stroke it and smile throughout the process. This is quite significant as a recent study found out that cats can actually recognize human smiles.
Let them explore each other
Once you are all set up with your cat being in a good mood, being familiar with the other pet's scent, feeling loved and understanding that the new animal is a friend - leave them to it.
Animals, felines especially, communicate in a different way than humans do and it's usually best if we leave them to it while they do so. Simply sit back in a couple of meters of distance and let them to the talking.
You will see that they will get along just fine by simply looking and sniffing each other.
The fluffy struggle
Now that they have gotten to know themselves, you can prepare for the daily life of having different animals.
First of all, have pre-defined sleeping positions for all of them. Don't let the new pet sit on your cat's stuff. Due to their territorial behavior even at home, cats don't appreciate that kind of behavior at all.
Second, have them all eat at the same time. This is a big one as schedule is very important at home. You can't feed your cat at 7 and the new pet at 8. Not only does your cat get suspicious when you do so, it's also a struggle in regard to time management. Save yourself the hustle and get them used to a strict schedule.
Play time is for both
Make sure they get used to playing together! No matter which pet you introduced to your cat, if your feline friend gets used to the 'other one' being around during playtime, they are way more likely to become friends.
This is simply due to the fact that cats always play with their friends. Your kitty simply loves playing with other like-minded souls. Why not use that to everybody's advantage?
To recap the article, make sure your cat is in a good mood, feels loved and got used to the scent of the pet you want to introduce before actually seeing it.
Then, after showing your cat that the new pet is you friend by gently stroking it, leave the introduction to themselves. Simply stand back and let them do their thing.
In the daily life, treat them equally and let them play together. This embraces the bond between you all and will lead to a happy, healthy and loving atmosphere at home.
Thank you everybody for reading and let us know what you think about introducing any pet to one or multiple cats down below in the comment section! Also, check out our other blog posts if you enjoyed reading this one: The Casual Cat Blog Posts.
Nicole and Robert