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Introducing a new cat or kitten

Cats are considerably more social than what many people think. Cats do form alliances and friendships with other cats, and with dogs as well. Nevertheless, introducing a new cat into an existing family of companion animals requires some time and patience. What follows are some suggestions for helping make a new kitty feel at home without offending those cats already established in your household.

  • Seclude the new kitten or cat in a room of their own. In that room put a litter box, food and water, toys, a bed or blanket, a old t-shirt, and a carrier. While the new kitty is exploring her surroundings, your other cats will likely come around to sniff -out the newcomer. Keep the door closed; your other cats will catch the scent of the new one from the spaces under and around the door.
  • After a couple of days, take the t-shirt or blanket from the new kitty and put it out with your other cats. Then take something of theirs -- a blanket, towel, or bed -- and put that in with the new cat.
  • Rub the new cat with a towel and put it with the existing cats -- in their sleeping area would be ideal. Then use a towel and rub it on your existing cat(s) and put it/them with the new cat.

    Note: The point of doing the above is to get all of your cats familiar with the scent of the others. Cats largely recognize one another on the basis of individual odors, so spreading the scent of all the cats around the house helps them identify one another. Additionally, it helps makes the scent of the new one become a normal part of their environment.
  • The next step is to sequester your other cats in the room in which the new one has been living, and let the new one explore the house.
  • By this time your cats should be reasonably familiar with one another, so now is the time to let them get together. Supervise and participate in these sessions. Have favorite toys, treats, and/or catnip available to make these sessions rewarding. If there is serious hissing, growling, or outright attacking, separate them and try again later.


Remember that it takes time for all to adapt to one another, to find their special niche in the group and in the living space. Be patient and you will be rewarded. Also remember that some cats simply coexist with others, which is fine. If your group become fast friends, that is wonderful; but the only real requirement is that they respect one another's status and space. Following the steps outlined here will facilitate that process.



Pet-Person.com's quote of the day
"You have now learned to see That cats are much like you and me And other people whom we find Possessed of various types of mind."
-T. S. Eliot




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