Sunday, October 6, 2013

How Should I Introduce a New Cat to My Other Cats?

by Amanda L. Maus DVM
Catalina Pet Hospital
Tucson, AZ

When people first find or adopt a new cat or kitten, they are very excited to get them accepted into the household as soon as possible.  However, if possible, there are a few things that you should determine before you even bring the new cat into your house.  Has this new kitty been tested for Feline Leukemia and FIV? Have they received any vaccinations?  Have they been dewormed or tested for intestinal parasites?  Are they showing any symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, vomiting, or diarrhea?  Do they have any fleas, ticks, or ear mites?  If you do not know the answer to these questions, you should make an appointment to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. 


Once you know the health status of your new feline, you can start slow introductions between the new cat and the established cats.  There a couple different methods that can be used.  The most commonly used way is to segregate the new cat in a room with a closed door, litterbox, food, and water.  This way, the cat can be in a small area where you can keep an eye on her appetite and litterbox use, as well as monitor any health problems the cat may have.  If your new cat does not have any contagious diseases, you can allow the other cats in a separate area to investigate the carrier the new cat came home in.  You can also feed the cats daily on opposite sides of the door that the new cat is enclosed in so that the cats associate each other's smell with something positive, like food. 



After a week or after any contagious disease has been treated and resolved, you can allow supervised visits of the new cat into the rest of the house.  You may want to consider keeping some rooms closed off if the new cat is skittish or scared so that they don't end up hiding somewhere you cannot find them or get to them.  If you are lucky, besides some hissing, the new cat will be accepted into your cat family.  If things do not go as smoothly as expected, continue to keep the new cat segregated with daily introduction visits until your cats seem to tolerate each other.  It can take time for bonding to occur in the form of sleeping next to each other, communal grooming, etc.  Play time with fishing rod type toys can help produce positive interactions between the cats. 

(The above cats are available for adoption from Pawsitively Cats )

1 comment:

  1. That was good information to know.