Catty First Impressions: Introducing A New Cat To Your Household Felines


It’s been three months since Eevee joined our clan, and now we can’t imagine life without her – I’d dare say that even our other four cats feel the same way. Having so many cats at home at any one time throughout most of my life guarantees a constant coming and going of felines, and our home has fondly been referred to as a sort of kitty halfway house.

It's perfectly possible to have many cats living together peacefully.

Of course, not all cats are completely welcome by our resident pets. Cats are naturally solitary creatures, and except for their distant prideful cousins living in Africa, they generally prefer to avoid social groups. Even so, feral cats have been known to form small colonies, and domesticated cats can also get used to living with other felines.

When introducing new cats to the household, this is an important thing to keep in mind. Not everybody is going to be happy with the newcomer, but with time and patience, a peaceful co-existence is not too far on the horizon. Of course, this depends heavily on your own cat as well – is he an ‘only child’, or one of many ‘siblings’ within the household? A cat who has spent most of its life with you as the sole cat-lord of the land will not take too kindly to a second housemate taking up what was previously his domain.

The start of a cosy feline friendship.

It is much easier to introduce a kitten to adult cats than it is to bring two grown cats together. Kittens are less likely to pose a threat, while older cats will already have a territorial and aggressive stance to things. Having adult cats spayed or neutered first will help a little, though male cats will still exhibit aggression whether or not they have been desexed.

Let’s start off slow. When the newcomer arrives, try and find a space for it away from your current pets so they can settle in. This could be a separate room – in my experience, we usually just keep a cage in a corner for the new arrival. Throughout this time, it’s important to not ignore your other cats, as they can get jealous and upset. If they exhibit any distress, be sure to be there to comfort them in order to reassure them that you’re not trying to replace anybody.

For the time being, keep food separate and their interactions to a minimum. Don’t discourage any curious sniffing though – just be there to keep an eye on things. Different cats will have different reactions, ranging from friendly curiousity to flat out hissing and spitting. Try not to have your cat’s food bowl anywhere near the newcomer, as this might discourage them from eating.

Once this routine has been set, we can move into slowly introducing the cats to each other. While I’ve never actually tried this myself, I’ve read that it’s a good idea to let both cats sniff items that carry the other cat’s scent in order to familiarise themselves with each other. This could be a toy or blanket used by either one of the cats. Once they’re ready, you can introduce them in a ‘neutral-zone’ environment (where neither cats claim as territory).

With my own cats, we usually let them acknowledge the arrival of the newcomer from afar, and let them decide when they are ready to make contact. Of course, this is our usual approach with introducing our cats to a kitten, and might not exactly apply to adult cats. Once they express an interest in the kitten, we put them both together, ready to intervene at any moment. If the adult cat gets hissy, we just take the kitten away, calm them down and try again another day. Eventually, they will get used to each other and might even get along really well.

Shiro proved to be a surprisingly loving mother figure to Eevee - surprising considering he's male.

With a lot of love and patience, you can bring two cats together peacefully. Just be understanding of their different personalities and adapt to the situation accordingly. If you’re lucky, a good natured cat will even take the newcomer as a companion and cuddle buddy. It all depends on the cat.



Sara Ikmal

Newly graduated and working in advertising, I come from a family of cat-lovers. We've had cats throughout my entire life. Between us, we have five cats: Pebbles, Spyro, Lola, Shiro and Eevee. Other than my love for cats, I'm a bookworm who enjoys rock-climbing on the weekends.

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