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How to introduce a new cat

Are you going to expand your feline family? It’s important to think about how you introduce your cats to each other if you want to keep a happy household.
Cat with bright blue eyes looking up from the lawn

Make sure your new cat matches your home energy

Do you already have a group of cats that have lots of energy and play together? Or do you have a calm cat that enjoys sleeping?

Think about how your cat or cats behave and then choose a new cat whose personality suits. For example, a cat that is calm and maybe a little afraid of loud noises shouldn't be put together with a bunch of crazy cats.

Read about different cat breeds if you are looking for a kitten and ask the breeder. They can answer what is typical for the particular cat breed you are interested in. If you adopt an adult cat, for example from a cat shelter, the staff usually have a good grasp of what personalities the different cats have.

How to introduce a new cat

Once you've brought home your new cat, it's important not to go too fast. A slow introduction is best. When you come home, the new cat should first of all be allowed to walk around and smell his new home by himself, without the other animals in the home disturbing or scaring him. Temporarily hide any other four-legged family members in another room. Give the new cat the time it needs.

Are you unsure how the cats will behave when they meet each other? Start by letting them get to know each other at a distance. You can do that by putting a grate in a doorway and letting the cats be on different sides. Then they get plenty of time to spy on and smell each other.

The first few days at home

Then when you feel ready to let the cats meet for real, you can remove the grate. Squat on the floor with your new cat close so you can manage the situation and remove the cat if you need to. You can count on a little sizzle and grunt.

Whether you are getting an adult relocation or a kitten, it is good to be at home with the cats for the first few days.

Common problems

All cats are individuals with their own personalities and it is impossible to predict how an introduction will go. Here you can read about the most common problems and what you can do to manage the situation:

1. Your new cat doesn't want to come out of their cage

Open the roof of the cage, if possible, and take the cat out. It's better to let it get out and start walking around. 

If it is an incredibly scared cat that wants nothing more than to be in their cage, it might be better to take them into the bedroom. With the bedroom door closed, spend the rest of the day in there with your cat and talk softly until they're ready to come out on their own.

2. Your older cats attack your new one

If you have introduced the cats slowly, you will hopefully avoid this. But if it happens, it's best to separate the cats for a day or two to let the situation calm down. Use towels or articles of clothing that rub against the cats and alternate so that they can smell each other without meeting. Then try a slow introduction again

3. One of your cats hides and won't come out

It is common for this to happen and it can happen to both the new cat or those already living in the home. Leave them alone and don't force a meeting. Tempt from time to time with treats or toys and make sure the hidden cat has food, water and a toilet at hand. It may take a while, but soon their curiosity will emerge and so will they.

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