Even if you have years of experience with cats, introductions can still feel daunting, as kitties are very unique and complex creatures. However, we’ve created a step-by-step guide to warding off potential conflict so your kitty family can live happily ever after! Read on to learn about how to introduce two cats for a happy home.
How to introduce two cats and what to expect from your feline friends
Step 1: Playing matchmaker: how to set your new kitty up for success before they come home with you
Careful consideration is required when bringing another
kitty into the family, and just like with any relationship, compatibility is an
important factor. Is the cat you’d like to bring home currently living in a
multi-cat household or in a shelter where they enjoy being social with other
kitties? Or are they used to living in a single-cat household and prefer their
Though opposites can sometimes attract,
it’s important to consider your cat’s personality. An older kitty eager to get
in their daily catnaps may not be enthusiastic about sharing space with a
frisky, young kitten. Likewise, a cat that loves rough-housing and lots of play
may frighten or intimidate a shy kitty.
It’s important to be patient with the process as
it may take between 8-12 months of bonding for kitties
to develop a friendship. While any two cats can become closer with time,
bringing home the right kitty for your family will pave the way to having a
happy, harmonious household.
Step 2: My home is my castle: making sure both cats feel secure
Your new feline friend is beginning a new chapter of their lives and may feel a bit of trepidation about this sudden change, but this is a big adjustment for your current kitty, too. Establishing a territory for each cat is quite possibly the single most vital step of the introduction process. Whether it’s in your living room, bedroom or bathroom, each kitty needs their own space with their own food, water, and litter box where they can feel safe and comfortable.
You should also ensure your entire home is
conducive to helping your cats feel happy and protected. Provide them with lots
of spots to perch, such as shelves or a cat tree. If they feel trapped, they
may revert to hiding.
In each kitty’s space, you should also have “scent soakers,” such as blankets and
scratching posts, so your kitty can spread their own scent around. Some also
suggest rubbing each cat with a towel to capture their scent during this
process, and then switch the towels between the two kitties so they can get
used to the shared scent.
Once a comfort level has been established with
each other’s smells, you can have each cat spend time in each other’s safe
place. During this process, you bring your new feline friend into your existing
cat’s space, and let your existing cat enter your new kitty’s base of
operations. This gives them more of an opportunity to get used to each other’s
Step 3: Sitting down together at the table: making friends over dinner
As for meal times, you’ll want to set up
scheduled feeding times, rather than free feeding. This will allow your cats to
develop a shared ritual of being fed. Initially, you should use an “other side
of the door” technique, allowing them to create a positive association with
each other through food. A pet gate or screen is a good barrier to use.
You may also want to start with a blanket draped
over the gate. This blanket will give the cats an added level of security.
Begin with the bowls far apart and gradually move them closer –– close enough
that they sense each others’ presence through sound and smell but not sight.
Once they appear to be more comfortable, you can gradually lift the blanket
with each feeding.
Step 4: Seeing eye to eye: handling their very first meeting
You want to control the first impression as it will set the mood for their relationship. It’s vital to make every effort to develop positive associations between your feline friends. Eating, playing, and receiving affection are activities that kitties tend to enjoy most, so those are all perfect opportunities to bring your kitties together.
During their first few meetings, you should always supervise them; whether they’re engaged in a play session or enjoying a shared meal. When meeting during play, it’s best to bring in your new kitty when your other kitty is in the middle of a play session.
It’s important to have a variety of toys
available, as one kitty may go crazy for catnip while the other prefers kicker
toys. You can receive a monthly box with a mix of engaging toys and tasty
treats at KitNipBox to help create a bonding experience for your feline
During this process, using a partner is great so that you can keep both cats fully engaged. These play sessions can last as long as you’d like, but consistency will help. Some conflict, however, is normal and natural, so don’t despair if your two fur family members hiss in their first meetings. Carefully guide each cat back to their secure area, either by using your body as a barrier or a soft item, such as a towel. Further, if tensions escalate, you can break up the fight by clapping your hands together or by creating another distraction.
You’ll want to repeat the introduction process for all the cats in your home, so they can each get used to the new kitty individually. Once those one-on-one relationships have been established and a sense of comfort is present, you can allow your feline family to mingle as a group.
Step 5: Happily ever after: setting your cats up as friends for life
When done correctly, with time and patience, introducing a new cat to your household doesn’t have to be complicated. As long as both cats are given proper time to adjust to their shared territory and are made to feel secure throughout the process, they may develop a life-long friendship with an unbreakable bond!
We hope this guide helps you on your journey to expanding your cat family. Please share your experiences in the comments with any special tips that have worked for you.
purrfect cat toy subscription service called KitNipBox, in which you’d receive a monthly box
with a variety of fun toys and tasty treats to welcome home the new member of
KitNipBox guest bloggers:
Candice Mikenas is the manager of KitNipBox‘s ameowzing customer service team. She’s the proud mom of her kitty, Rory, and she enjoys reading, traveling, and all things cat!
Lauren Salley is a pawsome team member from KitNipBox’s customer service team. She loves spoiling her kitty, Gina, and in her free time, she enjoys karaoke and playing board games!