Cats are solitary animals and can be very territorial, so unless they’ve grown up together, it can be hard to bring a new cat into your home. The resident cat will see the new cat as a threat to their territory and will go out of their way to make them feel unwelcome. There could be fighting, toileting problems and other inconveniences. However, cats can learn to get along and live together peacefully.
Give Them Space
You wouldn’t like it if a stranger suddenly moved into your home and started using all your stuff, so don’t expect your cat to like it either. The same goes for the new cat who’s already out of sorts and feeling displaced and uncomfortable. Now they have to tiptoe around some other cat’s territory with no way out. Give both cats the space they need to get away from each other and get to know each other on their terms.
Make Sure There’s Enough of Everything
Cats are not team players, so they don’t like to share their stuff. Ensure both cats have their own toys, litter box, food bowls and bedding placed where they can access them without encountering the other cat. The resident cat will have right of way since the new cat is on their territory. Make it easier for the new cat by giving them their own little piece of territory with familiar things if possible. The resident cat will eventually let the new cat have more territory as they get used to each other.
Age and Gender are Important
If you have a choice on the age and gender of the new cat, it’s better to choose a younger cat of the opposite sex to the resident cat as long they’ve both been desexed. An older cat might not like having to live in a younger cat’s territory, and there could be a lot of hissing, growling and fighting.
If your resident cat is male, the newcomer should be female as two males are more likely to fight. If the resident cat is female, she will eventually, with a lot of patience, accept another cat of either sex.
When you bring the new cat home, they’ll soon know about each other by smell. Introduce items to each cat that smells of the other to help them get used to each other. After a while, allow them to meet safely on neutral territory if possible so neither cat has the upper hand.
Be sure both cats have a quick escape route if things get out of hand. They will soon get used to each other; it’s just a matter of letting them do it on their terms, not yours.
Call Port Kennedy Vets on 08 9524 6644 or contact us online for any enquiries or health concerns regarding your cat, including vaccines and desexing. Our wellness programs make pet care easier, and with affordable monthly payments, they’re an investment in the health and wellbeing of your beloved pet.