Cats rely most heavily on their sense of smell for security so it is important to integrate your new cat’s scent into his new home as well as to your other pets.
Before bringing your new addition home, make sure to have the following items:
- Top loading, easily disassembled, flight approved carrier (Sherpa is a great brand for soft carriers. Hard carriers are better for cleaning but must be top load with clip locks on sides verses screws for easier disassembly)
- Cat scratcher (VERY affordable)
- Bed (hooded beds will make cats feel more secure)
- Blanket (the fluffier the better)
- New set of water (fountain is preferred) and food bowls (each pet should have their own set)
- 2 litter boxes per 1 cat
- Multiple textures of litter to test which is preferred by your new cat
- Feliway Diffuser
Isolate your new cat into a smaller room like a bathroom or smaller spare bedroom with all of his new accessories so that he may begin transferring his scent and feeling more secure. Cats prefer smaller areas as larger areas may be overwhelming.
Don’t be surprised if your new cat’s personality changes temporarily since the process of becoming acquainted with his new home is usually stressful. It is important to give him privacy and only enter his living quarters with food to help associate you with something positive. Announce your entering with a light tap on the door and a calm voice to prevent startling.
After a few days, swap out some of his items with your other pets items to mix scents. If you have multiple cats, each introduction should be individual starting with your most friendly cat to your least friendly cat.
Start feeding your cats around the door between your new cat and the rest of the house to help further associate the new cat’s smell with something positive. Allow your cats a quick glance at each other though a creek in the door. Hissing is normal but try to make it quick enough to prevent them getting a hiss in at the other.
After about a week or so, introduce the cats through a carrier. Allow them to sniff one another through the holes and doors. Again, hissing is normal. Watch each cat’s body language and let them tell you when they are ready. If they are ignoring each other with tails away from their body, almond pupils, and relaxed ears, it may be time to introduce your new cat to the rest of the home. If this is the case, move all of his items to the rest of the house so that at least one item is in every room. Make sure there is food and toys involved hen allowing your cats to make contact for the first time. A distracted cat is a calm cat. Keep play sessions short and positive.
Once your new cat is completely incorporated into your home and your cats are getting along, it is important to maintain scent security. Even a brief trip away from home to the vet can alter a buddy’s scent leading him to be somewhat unrecognizable. Every once in a while, cats may all of a sudden stop getting along-after a move, a vacation, a big change, ect. and it is recommended to just reintroduce your cats again to give them some space and help them get reacquainted. NEVER just throw a new pet or a pet that has been somewhere else into your home as this could cause traumatic behavioral issues to develop.
Don’t forget that it is THEIR home too. How would you feel if some random stranger suddenly appeared in your home without being properly introduced? The human-animal and animal-animal bond is and always will be a MUTUAL relationship.
Below is a fantastic video on how to properly introduce a new cat into your home.