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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
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:
Warning signs that battle is imminent:
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.