Introducing Your New Cat
You just adopted you a new kitty and it’ll take a while for your cat to adjust to its new home. You want them to feel comfortable, but this will not happen overnight. With unfamiliar surroundings, your cat may be frightened by sudden movements or people. It is very important to have patience with this process of building relationships with other cats, dogs and people. However, depending on cat breed, age, and history, each cat can react differently in new situations.
If you’ve never had a cat before, it might be difficult for you to really read their body language or vocalizations. Read our blog post on how to understand the feline language to better recognize what they’re trying to tell you.
If you already have a cat at home,
TIP: It is best to choose a cat that has a similar personality as the cat that you have now. A young kitten would probably not go best with an older cat with a more sedentary lifestyle. However, two playful cats might be a better match.
Cats can sometimes be territorial depending on their personality, so your cat at home right now might not be too happy with the sudden changes. Start by creating a new space with bed, toys, bowls, litter box, and scratching post for your new family member. Be sure they each have their own separated areas. You don’t want to make your current cat unhappy!
Cats have a strong olfactory system that allows them to recognize each other through pheromones. Whenever a cat rubs its cheeks on a table or wall, they release a scent that can provide information to another cat. Before introducing one another, exchange their bedding or blankets to familiarize them to each other’s scent.
The next step is for them to meet through a gate or opening where they can see each other. If no aggressive behaviors arise, allow them to meet.
If there are signs of stress or aggression, separate them and try again more slowly. It’ll take several days or weeks for bonds to form, so keep an eye on their interactions until you fully trust their relationship.
If you already have a dog at home,
TIP: If you have an aggressive dog who has a history of chasing cats, a new cat might not be the best choice for your household. A dog with a calm temperament who does not chase will be a better match for a new cat.
Some shelters will allow you to bring your current dog to their facility for a meet and greet. This will give you a better idea of whether or not your new cat and dog will get along.
On their first interaction, your dog should be put on a leash for any sudden attacks in a confined spacious area. If your curious dog approaches the cat too aggressively, it can cause the cat to run off and hide. Remember, not all dogs and cats will get along, depending on breed, personality, and temperament.
After a couple interactions, observe how they are and if they get along. Always keep an eye out for them until you know they are good terms.
If you notice any signs of distress or anxiety, loss of appetite, or aggressive behavior that persists for several days, please consult your local veterinarian. You want your cat to feel comfortable and happy in their new home. Remember, this process will take a lot of time and patience. Never force any relationships, they should happen naturally!