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Welcoming a New Cat to Your Home

8 Tips for Success:

  • Go slowly! Be patient with your new cat. It can take them 7-14 days to start to relax into their new home.
  • Give them a place to hide. Provide your new cat with a safe place to hide and observe their new surroundings.
  • Keep them on the same food. Avoid stomach upset by keeping them on the same food they were eating or transition them slowly over 1-2 weeks.
  • Set up their litter box. Place their litter box in a quiet, low traffic area.
  • Provide a scratching post. Cats have an innate need to scratch. Giving them appropriate surfaces to scratch on will spare your furniture. Make sure scratching posts are tall enough for your cat to stand on their back legs and reach all the way up!
  • Cat-proof your home. Ensure a safe home by relocating any poisonous plants, secure breakables, and make sure to keep the toilet seat down.
  • Encourage interactive playtime! Stock up on feather wands and kitty fishing poles
  • Provide them with a window perch. Cats love to watch the birds and soak up the sun from the comfort of their indoor home.
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Cat-to-Cat Introductions

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Already have a resident cat? Here are some tips on making sure their friendship gets off on the right foot!

Step 1: Set up a “base camp” for your new cat. This can be a bathroom or a spare bedroom - any room with a door that closes and minimal places to hide. It should include their litter box, toys, and surfaces that hold their scent like scratchers, blankets or beds.

Step 2: Once your new cat has settled into their base camp, you can start site swapping. The new cat gets to explore the rest of the house while the resident cat gets to explore the new cat’s base camp. This allows both cats to start to get to know each other through scent first!

Step 3: STart mealtime introductions. Place each cat’s food bowl a few feet back from the closed door. This method allows them to smell each other while associating the smell with something good, FOOD! Move the bowls closer and closer to the door with each feeding until the bowls are against the door. If the cats exhibit growling, hissing, or avoidance, back the bowl up to where these behaviors stop.

Step 4: Graduate to a baby gate. Use a baby gate with a towel draped over it so that there is a 1-2 inch gap at the bottom of the gate for cats to see each other. Back the bowls up again to a few feet from either side of the gate. At each meal, raise the towel a little and slowly start moving the bowls closer to the gate until the gate is completely uncovered and the bowls are on either side of the gate.

Step 5: Introduce them in the same room, but make sure they have something to do! Keep both cats occupied with either food, play, brushing, or human affection. If they start staring at each other, distract them. If distraction doesn’t work, separate them.

Do not throw two cats into a room together and let them “work it out”! This method is destined for failure. Cats are extremely territorial animals, so slow introductions assure that both cats remain territorially secure. Properly introducing cats can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. It’s entirely dependent on the cats involved. Patience is key!

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