How to Introduce a New Cat to Other Pets
So you’ve decided to bring home a new cat, but you’re not sure how the other pets in your household are going to deal with the new arrival. You may have already tried introducing your new cat with no luck, or you might be researching to find out the best way to go about this beforehand.
Either way, it’s crucial to brush up on everything you need to know about how to introduce a new cat to existing pets in the family. In the article below, we’ll explain the basics you need to know about how to make this happen as seamlessly as possible.
6 Steps for How to Introduce a New Cat
Below are 6 tips all new cat owners should know for how to introduce a new cat to other pets in the family:
Start with a Quarantine
Begin by keeping your new cat quarantined away from the rest of the house. This is ideal for helping your new cat adjust, but it’s also important in case your new cat may be sick with anything from the shelter or rescue.
Keep your cat in his own room with his own separate food and water dishes for a couple of weeks at most. This is a great way to help him get comfortable with the idea of you and the noises associated with the rest of your household before moving on to the next stage.
Move On to Carrier Introductions
The second step is to try a carrier introduction. You should keep your new cat in his carrier and allow your existing pets to come into the room and check out the carrier with the cat inside. Your existing pets may be very interested, or they may just sniff the carrier and walk away. Either way, let them do what they want at this stage (other than trying to be aggressive).
Your cat may be fearful at this point, so try not to overdo it. A few minutes at a time should be enough to get the pets all used to the sight of each other. You don’t want to cause your cat any stress while doing this.
Provide Scents to Each Pet
Try offering the scents of each pet to each other. For example, you can have each pet sleep on a special blanket just for them. After a few days, you can trade blankets so that the existing pet can smell the new cat and vice-versa. If you have multiple existing pets, work through this step slowly, one at a time.
The idea here is to get your existing pets used to the idea of having a new cat in the home. The cat can also get used to the smell of these pets without being overwhelmed by the scents all at the same time.
Try Supervised On-Leash Meetings
After you’ve had a chance for your pets to get used to the idea of each other, the next step for how you can introduce your new cat is to try some supervised meetings with all pets involved on a leash. This way, if anything should go wrong, you can easily step in to stop fights or prevent pets from causing harm to each other.
You may also choose to allow your new cat to wander on his own without being on a leash, but keep your existing pets leashed in the process. This freedom can help your new cat feel a little bit more comfortable as he works his way through his surroundings.
Provide Positive Reinforcement
The more positive reinforcement you give, especially to your existing pets, the better off the experience will be. Shower your existing pets with praise when they behave politely toward the new cat, and give them plenty of treats for their trouble, too.
You can also try some positive reinforcement with the new cat, but remember that he needs to take some time to warm up to the household. Offering treats to him may let him know that he’s safe and that his patience is also appreciated.
Give Lots of Love to All Pets
Another important tip for how to introduce a new cat is to make sure your new pet understands that you want to give them love and support. But also be sure your existing pets know you still love them too. Take separate times to sit down with all pets and share your company with them.
Slowly, your pets will all learn that you care about each one of them and want to spend time with them, regardless of any new additions.
Learn More About How to Introduce a New Cat
Bringing home a new cat is an exciting time for everyone in the family, but it can also be stressful for the cat as well as for your existing pets. Remember to be extra patient with everyone involved during this transition time, and understand that it may take a while for all pets to warm up to each other.
Most pets will eventually learn to get along well. However, if you continue to have trouble with your new cat for a long time, you may need to work with your veterinarian or a pet trainer to figure out better methods of ensuring everyone can coexist peacefully.
If you have any questions, or are wanting to learn more about how to introduce a new cat to your current pets, contact our team at The Village Vets. Our team will be able to offer additional guidance as well as help you decide when it would be best to consult with a professional trainer.
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