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Felinexpress.com Home > Cat Behavior > Introducing two Cat

Introducing two cats

I have chosen to share my life with a number of cats. The process explained below is one that I developed over time. There were snags along the way as my home and heart opened to more cats. Today more than a dozen cats share my home (our home) as my husband also has learned to accept my passion for the forgotten ones.

I work with the older feral cats and the stray cats as well as bottle babies. This journey has been one of frustration, trial and error and great rewards.

The best tip I can offer is to work with your cat’s timetable and not yours. Expect nothing, and get everything in return.  The result will be a bond between you and your cats that none can break.

Here is my tip list:

Before bringing the cat home make sure the cat has been to the vet, checked out 100% healthy and been spayed or neutered!

Preparing the room

  • Put in dimmer switches on the lights or lower wattage bulbs (night-lights work well)
  • Make sure there is a cave-like dwelling  somewhere in the room (so the cat can hide).
  • Put food, water, two litter pans and some toys in the room
  • Put a small cooler in the room with food, water, bowls, can opener, plastic utensils and rags for cleaning up any messes.
  • Store extra litter in a corner
  • Invest in several Comfort Zone Room Diffusers. Plug them in, both in the room and outside the door to the room.
  • Make a temporary door out of chicken wire. This is easily done with either 2 x4’s for the framework or even PVC pipe, elbows, connectors and cable ties.
  • This door serves several purposes. It allows the two cats to swap scent instantly. You don’t have to mess with wiping down each cat with a towel or blanket and swapping scents. The cats can see each other, but not harm each other (as long as you use small chicken wire and not the larger mesh). It really does accelerate the introduction process and it also decreases your stress level, because both cats are safe. This door also provides a way for you to observe the body language of both cats and determine when the best time to let them accidentally meet is.
  • Feed each cat close together on both sides of the door. Cats are social eaters and this breaks the ice.
  • Do not rush the introduction. There is no set time that can be stated as the best time to let cats come together. Kittens can adapt easier to an early introduction especially an orphaned kitten, than an older adult cat can. Let your cats tell you when they are ready.

When the time is right

Leave the door opened to the new cat’s room accidentally.  Step out of the way and keep your anxiety level down.  If you have been able to watch your cats’ body language and have taken the appropriate time to keep them apart, everything should be fine.

Have a dark blanket nearby that you can toss over the cats should they tangle. This will cause the cats to startle and break the tension between them.

NEVER pick up a cat that has been fighting or is ready to do battle. Use a broom and gently guide without touching  the cat with the broom, into a room. Shut the door. Leave the cat alone for several hours.

Do NOT touch a cat after a battle until you see him grooming or eating. Then you may safely handle your cat.

First Meeting- Common signs:

  • Hissing (intermittent)
  • Growling
  • Swatting (intermittent)
  • Spitting
  • Tail twitching back and forth slowly
  • Body low to the floor, but ears are relaxed, scruff isn’t raised in alert

Warning signs that battle is imminent:

  • Constant hissing
  • Screaming
  • Slow circles, body low to the ground, tail held low twitching rapidly
  • Narrowed eyes
  • Ears flat and back
  • Rolling over and staying on back (weapons ready)
  • Chasing with intent, first one chasing the other than the two turning to run at each other
  • Rabbit kicking
  • Scruff and back end hair raised
  • Chasing each other without stopping.

The best way to stop two cats from fighting is to startle them. Spray bottles rarely work when cats are in the midst of battle. Gently inserting a wooden chair between them will break them up. So will a loud noise. An air horn is a great tool to have on hand when the two cats finally meet. Tossing a dark blanket over them (a heavyweight blanket) will also startle them apart.

If you don’t get anxious to have the two cats meet and set your clock with their timetable, the introductions can go without a hitch.

Using products available to ease the tension between the cats can be beneficial for all concerned; rescue remedy, Feliway Spray, Comfort Zone Room Diffusers. 

Toys are also a good ice breaker, but if your cats get aggressive on catnip (as some cats do). Catnip toys should be avoided until the cats have been together for a few weeks.

Sit back, relax and let nature take its course. Cats are social creatures. They colonize in the wild, and sharing a home, they can inhabit that home together in peace, as long as their human understands it is on the cats' time schedule.

Mary Anne Miller is a freelance writer, website content provider and member of The Cat Writers’ Association.

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