When you give a stray cat or kitten a new home, you never know for sure what kind of cat or kitten you will end up with. Then there is the difficulty of introducing and integrating your new cat or kitten with any other cats or pets you already have, while also wondering how they will get along with one another. Considering how self-reliant cats are, there is always the possibility that your original cat will find a new home with another family.
I thought it would be helpful if I told you some of the things we did when we were thinking about getting another cat and how we went about introducing them to each other because I believe this has a lot to do with how well they get along now and how well they have adjusted to each other.
Once you’ve come to the conclusion that you’re ready to get another cat, you can’t wait to get to know the newest member of the family. I have always been of the opinion that the perfect cat ‘finds’ me when the time is right. Therefore, it didn’t matter how diligently I looked; all I could do was wait. I was still required to make a never-ending number of phone calls, go through a variety of websites to determine who was on the re-homing list, and determine who among the candidates would be the best friend for my pet Mark. After calling around to other cat charities and discussing my requirements with them, we came to the conclusion that given Mark’s age and disposition, he would be most suited to a kitten. This was the consensus of everyone I spoke with. My family had been hoping for a kitten from the very beginning, so when we finally got one, there was a raucous round of applause. I was less enthusiastic because I knew what was in store for me: months of confinement indoors, training to use the litter box, training not to scratch the furniture, training not to jump on the kitchen worktop, followed by spaying, stitches, more confinement indoors, different nutritional requirements, and so on and so forth. BUT… it was for Mark’s best interest, and I was not about to let him be evicted or upset in any way, so necessity called!
The kind women who work at the cat rescue, from whom we got Mark, put me in touch with one of their fosterers so that I could find out when the next litter of kittens would arrive. I kept in touch on a regular basis, and God bless her for reserving her one and only female cat for me. We had to wait a grueling eight weeks for her to be ready to be weaned, but when she was, we went to visit her and were able to bring her home.
You arrive home. You are now transporting one little weaned kitten that is 8 weeks old in a cat carrier. She has just had her very first experience traveling by car, during which she was separated from her siblings and everything else she regards as secure. She is trembling in fear. Never in a million years would I just open the door to a random house, take the kitten out of the container, and let her meet ‘the other’ cat. This is not the beginning of the introduction.
1) Make kitten feel safe and secure
What we did was set up my XL luxurious pet crate with a bed, some food and water, a litter box, some toys, and lots of soft blankets and towels to make it as pleasant as possible for the cat. Because her foster caretaker allowed us to take it, we gave her a blanket and a toy that smelled like her mother. We gently removed her from the carrier while assuring and reassuring her the entire time, and then placed her in the new location that will serve as her temporary home. Our XL dog kennel was placed in the living room, which serves as the hub of our home and provides access to the entire first floor. From this vantage point, she would be able to gradually and securely become accustomed to the sights, sounds, and scents of our home; more crucially, Mark would be able to observe and become accustomed to the newest member of the family on his own terms.
2) The key is to take it easy.
We were of the opinion that it was very vital for our cats to get our attention, although at first we did so individually. When Mark entered the room or showed interest in Arrow while Arrow was safely confined in her cage, we would lavish praise on him and make a great deal out of it. This would happen after we had ensured that Arrow was either eating or sleeping in her crate. When Mark was out and about or in another room, we would also lock all of the doors and open up as many windows as we could so that Arrow could have as much freedom as possible to run around. Not just to burn off some of her excess energy, but also so that she can gradually become comfortable with both us and the environment around her. We carried on in this manner until both of the cats were completely comfortable with one another and enjoyed each other’s company.
3) Always keep an eye on things.
You are going to have to give the two cats some time to play together at some point. My recommendation is to begin with relatively brief intervals, to maintain a cheerful attitude, and to never leave them unaccompanied. Read both cats and choose a time when they are both calm and cheerful, such as after they have both fed. This will help you get the most out of your reading. I made sure that every door was locked so that the shy one, Mark, who couldn’t run away and hide, and so that Arrow couldn’t go out of the house to look for Mark. When Mark had had enough, I would always let him leave the room, and then I would praise both of the cats once more.
In the beginning, we made sure to lock Arrow up in her spacious and luxurious XL crate if we were going to be gone for more than a few hours. It was decided that Mark would be allowed to be in the same room as Arrow while we were gone so that the two of them could continue to bond safely.
We were able to extend the amount of time that they both spent together because it appeared as though they were maturing. After a brief period of time, Arrow began to gain her courage and expressed an eagerness to investigate the rest of the house. Although we were totally guided by both cats as to when to allow them to be out together in the house during the day and night, we did not wait long before we gave them both permission to do so.
4) You should never try to compel a friendship.
It would be best if you didn’t rush things and tried to force them to be together before they were ready. It is possible that the other cat would not appreciate such a pleasant approach because kittens are naturally lively and playful. You should give your cats the space and time to get to know each other at their own pace, while also providing a loving and secure environment for them to do so.
As a result, we decided to proceed in this manner in order to successfully include our adoring new kitten, Arrow, into the dynamic of our existing family and ensure that Mark’s needs were addressed. I really hope that some of these pointers were helpful to you, and that you are able to make some new friends in your happy feline home.