A feline family is often more fun than a single cat. If you’re thinking about adding a new pet to your home, follow these smart guidelines for a safe and happy introduction.
Practical questions to ask before you add
- Playing referee? Two high-strung, queenly cats could stage a drama worthy of Game of Thrones right in your living room. Two beta cats or an alpha and a beta should settle together quickly and cheerfully.
- Kitten or adult cat? Resident adult cats adapt more easily to a new kitten. If you are sure you want to add another adult cat, though, consider the two animals’ temperaments. Housing and space questions
- Does your place have breathing room for multiple cats?
- Is there enough high-up walking space for all your cats to enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the world? Cats feel safe when they can survey their surroundings from an elevated perch.
- Are there private hideaways each cat can claim as his or her own? No matter their individual personalities, cats are not pack animals like dogs. They are more inclined to lead solitary, introverted lives.
A quick guide to introductions
- Separate your new cat into a sanctuary room away from your resident animal for two to seven days. Your first pet will be aware there’s another cat in the house, but the two of them won’t be overwhelmed. Switch their beds every day, and swap towels with each other’s scents.
- Make sure both animals are flea and parasite free.
- Introduce the two cats through the bars of a cat carrier. The bars permit polite sniffing but eliminate the possibility of injury in case the initial welcome home celebration is chillier than you’d hoped. Do this several times a day for two to three more days before you let the animals have direct contact with each other.
- Keep plenty of tempting toys on hand. It’s the best way to reduce squabbles. Toys are also a great distraction if you see hostilities about to break out.
- Did the skirmish happen anyway? Keep a towel handy to toss over the animals as a distraction. After a quarrel, keep the cats separated for several days.
- How long should the process take? Introducing a new cat could require anywhere from two weeks to two months, and the two may never become fast friends.
Multi-cat households and the question of litterboxes
- Provide one litter box per cat plus one extra. Two cats? Three boxes. Three cats? Four boxes. A beta cat will resort to using your floor, couch or comforter if denied access to the litter box.
- Arrange litter boxes on opposite sides of the house. Lining up litter boxes could seem convenient for cleaning, but your cats may not all want to use the bathroom in the same area of the house.
- Keep each litter box fresh. Cats are fundamentally fastidious animals. Scoop out the litter at least twice daily, and refresh it every week. Most cats will not step in or even around waste in order to eliminate. If one litter box gets full, a cat will go to another. If that litter box is also messy, blocked or claimed as the eternal throne of another cat, your pet will find another, less-desirable place to go.
- Multi-level house owners, make sure boxes are available on each floor. A two-story house with two cats should have two litter boxes on the main floor and one on the second floor. This setup ensures that cats have easy access to fresh litter, plenty of choice, and a convenient place to go when the urge strikes.
- Consider putting a trash can, or litter keeper next to your litter boxes for easier litter disposal.
- Respect their privacy. A lidded box can help a cat feel a lot more comfortable than an open one. Modkat’s easy-to-clean system allows you freshen up the box, prevents litter tracking, and offers cats plenty of privacy, making doing business a pleasure for modern cats and their humans.
Cats make excellent companions, and adding another one can be a great idea. These simple guidelines can keep new cat introductions pleasant for everyone.