Cats are not solitary, they like the company of other animals. In fact, it is recommendable that cats are with other cats the way they are in nature.
However, it is important to introduce cats properly to each other, as just putting them together in a room could cause big struggles between them. So to avoid having a tense environment, let´s see how to introduce cats the right way.
Introducing a cat, first steps
First, make sure that your existing cat is already on a meal, and it is very important that you don’t free-feed them, which means that you’re putting your existing cat on a meal plan where they get fed a certain number of times a day always in your presence.
Schedule a time with your cats that especially includes playtime.
Prepare a basecamp
A basecamp is a place where the new cat is going to be. It is his zone. The aim here is that you have a place that will become a home for your cats, and for cats becoming home involves smelling their scent and being able to put their scent into different objects.
Things that are scent soakers, which have to get their body on, and every time they walk up to it they smell themselves. Also, the cat bed, blankets, and litter boxes have to be in their basecamp.
Take your new cat to basecamp and do not let the cats have any eye contact. The base camp will be her place for the next week or even more time.
Swap their sites
Nevertheless, don’t leave the new cat in the basecamp all the time, it could cause troubles. Because if the basecamp is for example your bedroom, you would ban your older cat from one of its known territories where some time ago he could be around. Soon he will stick his nose wondering what is behind the door.
If the cats get curious about what is on the other side of the door, swap the different sites of them without having them any contact. For example, put your old cat in a separate room, then put the new cat out, and afterward, you can put the old cat in the bedroom.
Let your cats explore the spaces
Another important part is to let your cat explore your home, especially the vertical places. When they finally get to each other, each one can go to his spot.
If the cats can only access the floor for them to compete over, it could probably cause problems. Having a cat-tree could mitigate it. Anyway, make sure that there are places to escape.
Also, have a litter box for each cat to avoid conflicts and put them in a place where they can get away from each other.
Create a positive association between the cats
Now, you have to create a positive association with each other, you will achieve that with food so that when your cat smells food, they smell each other creating a positive association. Remember, that your cats still haven’t had any visual contact with each other.
On opposite sides of a door give each of your cats their meal own meal. After they ate put the cats away.
Repeat this process every day putting the bowls every time a little bit closer to the door. Every time the cats come in contact with food they have to smell the other cat.
First visual contact between the cats
After the cats begin to associate the other cat’s smell with food, they are ready to have visual contact.
Put both cats on opposite sides of a screen door, pet gate, window, or anything that is transparent, and feed them. In this way, you are creating a safe way for each other to know them. Use blankets that you can drape over, and slowly raise the curtain.
Final step to introduce cats
Finally, when you introduce the cats into a room, give them an activity, play with them. Otherwise, if they have nothing to entertain themself they could become fixed to the other cat, and this could cause trouble.
Leave one of the cats in the room with his favorite toy, or treats, and have the other cat in the other part of the room. Move the cats in opposite directions.
If they ever stare down at each other stop it as soon as possible distracting their attention. Once the stare-down begins, stop the exercise and try it again the next day. Break up any possible fight or argument that could happen.
If you avoid putting them together again after a fight the more the last bad memory for your cats is going to stay hence the association they have with each other. You would undo all the positive emotions that you had already created between them.
Lastly, cats need to prove that the other one is beneficial for their life and not a threat before they can go along well together, and this can take a little bit of time.
But if you created positive associations with each other sooner or later they will become friends.