Many cat owners assume that their furry feline child would just love a new playmate. This is a natural assumption as humans normally crave the company of other humans…normally. But did you remember to ask your current pet how he feels about it?
Introducing a new feline into the home can be a very tricky situation. Below are a few points to remember when attempting this.
- Take into consideration your current cat’s age. Older cats may not adjust well to a new companion. They are set in their ways and do not like change.
- Are all members of the family in agreement with the decision to acquire a new family member? Remember adoption is a lifelong commitment.
- Is your current pet in good health? Get a checkup with your vet before considering a new family member.
- Check with your landlord and make sure you can have multiple pets in your home.
Once you have checked off all the above items and decide a new pet is right for you, it is time to search for your new friend. Many rescues and shelter can be located at www.petfinder.com, www.adoptapet.com and www.petango.com to mention a few.
Purchasing a pet from a pet store is never a good idea. Many of these animals are born into horrible breeding mills and can have tons of health issues. Helping a local rescue or shelter by adopting is always a good choice.
One way to find out if a new cat is a good choice for your family is to volunteer as a foster parent with your local animal shelter. These wonderful people take homeless pets into their homes and teach them social skills and help them adjust to life in a family. Then the pet is placed up for adoption and the foster families can then take in another cat and repeat the process.
So let’s assume that you have made the decision to adopt a new cat. Introductions to your other cat should be done slowly. This is not a process that can be rushed.
- You should set up a spare room in your house for the new kitty with all the things he/she will need. Litter box, toys, food/water bowls, bed and a TV or radio that be left on with a low volume. This will help the kitty get used to the normal noise levels of your house.
- Let the current kitty and the new kitty meet by sniffing under the door. This will spark their curiosity about each other but keep them apart so no fights break out.
- Several times a day take a dry washcloth and rub your new kitty with it, capturing his scent on the cloth, take it to you older kitty and rub him with it. Repeat this back and forth several times per day so they become accustomed to the other pets scent.
- After about a week of the above mentioned routine, you can bring the two cats together. Make this a positive experience by offering treats and favorite toys to both cats. Do not leave the cats along together untill there is no hissing or spitting and the two seem relaxed with each other.
- After a short time of interaction, place your new kitty back in his room. Repeat this several times per day extending the “together” time at each session. Within 3-4 days they should be accustomed to each other that you can leave them together in the house.
Now you will notice some hissing and raised fur from time to time, but this is normal. As long as no fights are occurring, they should be fine. Remember: Cats need their personal space just like humans. If your kitty feels he/she needs some space hissing is his way of saying “Okay, back off a bit mate.”
Remember one of the most important rules of all: Each kitty needs their own litter box. This is not something that can be forgotten or ignored. One box per cat is the rule. Although they may go back and forth between the two boxes, this has no bearing on the rule. Felines always like to have a box and a spare.
Remember to follow the above guidelines when making this decision and your life will be filled with purrs and head bonks.