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June 30, 2021

How to Successfully Introduce a New Cat to Your Family

  • Cat
  • What to Expect
  • Tips
  • Adoption
Two Bengal cats sitting on window sill looking outside

Isn't it wonderful to have a cat in the house? That one furry feline who makes your family complete!

Our love for pets is obvious. In 2019-2020, the National Pet Owners Survey showed that at least 67% of households in the United States own a pet. 

So it would make sense that you are thinking about adding a second cat to your household. Wondering how to go about introducing cats?

Adding a second cat to your household can seem a little tricky at first. If you already have a feline member of your family and are thinking about adding one more, then this guide will help you!

It is important to know how to introduce your feline friends peacefully and properly!

The Basics

Consider the basics for your current situation and lifestyle. Think about you will be able to manage the extra time and expense of another pet.

Some key points to consider are:

  • Do you have enough space?
  • Do you have enough time?
  • Do you have enough patience?

Once you can answer yes to these questions, then the big question becomes a financial one. Do you have enough money to pay for the additional food and veterinary care costs?

Benefits of Adopting a Second Cat

Now that we're past the basics, it's time to look at the benefits of adopting a second cat!

A second cat can benefit your current feline companion in many ways.

  • A second cat will keep your cat company
  • Cats are social and enjoy companionship with other cats
  • There will be less destruction all around
  • Your cats will be playing with each other, instead of your things
  • A well-matched cat friend will make your cat healthier and happier
  • Your cat will have more mental stimulation when you're not home
  • They will groom each other and keep cleaner

And the best benefit is double the cat snuggles for you!

Adopting Another Cat

Consider your current cat's personality and needs before adopting adding a second cat. Specific things to consider are:

How energetic is your current cat? If your cat is a bit on the lazy side then an energetic kitten may not be a good match.

How old is your cat? Does your cat have special health needs? If you own a senior cat, it is better to match the age more closely.

Has your cat been around other cats much? If your cat hasn't had feline friends in the past, then it is going to take them more time to adjust!

Great Places to Find a Cat

The absolute best place to adopt a cat from is your local animal shelter. There so many amazing cats in animal shelters just waiting for a home of their own. And tragically, many of them are euthanized before they get the chance.

You can find many breeds at an animal shelter, and you may well find your desired breed and personality all in one!

If you are set on a specific breed, make sure the breeder you use is reputable and you can verify past reviews.

Introducing a Second Cat

Introducing two cats can be tricky at first. How to introduce cats takes a little time, patience, and strategy.

You want to plan ahead and take this process slowly. If you try to rush or force it, then you may ruin the chance for a relationship to work out at all. 

  1. The first thing to do is trade scents (you can do this even before you bring your new cat home)

  2. Bring a blanket home from the shelter for your cat to get familiar 

  3. Next, find a quiet room in your house for your new cat

  4. Make sure your current cat's scent is in this room

  5. Give them their own food bowl and litterbox

  6. It is important the room is in the main part of your house

  7. Have playtime and quiet interactions

Then feed them close together, but on opposite sides of a door. You can place their food bowls on their respective side. If one cat refuses to eat there, it is fine to move their bowl farther away.
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Later you can use a treat to entice them back to that area. If you see any growling or hissing, then take things slowly before you put them near each other again.

Time to Exchange Scents

If everything is going well up to this point, you can start to take the next step of exchanging their scents around the house. 

  1. Now put your current cat in the room, and let the new cat explore

  2. Close your bedroom and bathroom to limit the exploring area

  3. Alternate between spending days in the room and house

If everybody is calm and happy, then you are ready for visual contact! You can now open the door separating them so they can see and smell each other. You should still keep them separated by a gate at this point to see how they act.

Time to Meet and Greet

If all goes well at the scent exchange, it is now time to open the gate for a full meet and greet.

You may see some hissing and swatting, but they can often work out their differences on their own. The important thing is there are no major fights!

If things are still going smoothly, then leave them alone together for a while. You can always spy on them from afar.

Introducing Cats

Now that you have the basics down, and you can seriously start looking for the next furry friend to add to your family. 

Start slow and have patience when introducing cats. The long-lasting bond and companionship that results will be well worth it.


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