Once you know the love and companionship of a cat, it can be easy to consider adding a feline friend to your family. In honor of National Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, we at Lifetime Veterinary Center want to share these steps for introducing your shelter cat into your household.
Step 1: Create separate resource areas for each cat
Your new cat and your current cat should have separate areas stocked with all their necessities—litter box, food, water, bedding, and enrichment options. Ideally, you should keep the new cat behind a closed door at first, to allow your two cats to sniff each other under the door as they acclimate.
Step 2: Swap bedding to exchange each cat’s scent
Once your new cat has settled into your home, swap a piece of bedding to exchange scents. This offers the cats a low-stress, non-confrontational “meeting.”
Step 3: Allow exploration of each cat’s area
Put one cat in a carrier in a different room, and allow the other cat to explore new territory and the scent markers left behind.
Step 4: Allow visual contact
Use a gate, glass door, or mesh door covering to allow your cats to see each other but have no contact. Feed each cat treats or high-value food, so they form a positive association with seeing each other.
Step 5: Allow supervised physical contact
Once your cats appear calm, remove the barrier, and allow a physical meeting. Slowly work up to longer supervised periods, and then practice leaving your cats unsupervised for brief times. With patience and perseverance, your kitties will become best friends.
Contact us to schedule a wellness exam for your shelter cat. We can’t wait to meet your new feline companion!