Adopting a new furry friend brings on a lot of stresses to both you and your original pet. Introducing a new puppy or kitty to your household may take patience and conditioning, but with a few personal strategies the task may seem a bit easier to tackle.
Back in June, my family adopted our two kitties, Alice and Praline, from the SPCA. Needless to say, both cats were stressed out from head to tail. They had just been caged up next to a motley crew of strays and are now entering a new home with strangers (both human and feline). Each kitty came with a different background story or “kitty-hood”, so we kept Alice and Praline in their own separate rooms before allowing them to venture out and meet one another.
Once comfortable in their own “territories”, we swapped items between rooms to accustom the kitties to each other’s scent. Specifically, we switched out the blankets that each cat slept on; so, Alice slept on Praline’s blanket and vice versa. This step certainly helped the two realize that another cat was present in the house before actually physically meeting.
Our next step was to introduce the kitties face to face. We used a tall baby gate with a blanket draped over top as a curtain. One cat was placed on either side before allowing each one to peek across the boundary. Alice and Praline certainly puffed up and hissed a lot at one another, but we made sure to mollify the situation with plenty of treats! This process lasted a few days with intermittent face time before supervising any tangible interaction. Each day, the tension decreased and we noticed substantial progress.
Once Alice and Praline were finally able to physically interact with each other, the alpha cat needed to be established. The kitties chased and swatted each other in the beginning, but were always supervised to make sure the fighting was never too vicious. This tussling lasted the longest, but became less frequent and eventually playful.
It sure took about 3-4 months before the cats truly enjoyed their co-existence. Now Alice and Praline are best friends and even curl up on the same blanket together for snuggles.
The most important principle that bonded these two was the slow and gradual transition of introducing one cat to the other. As much as we wanted this process to happen instantly, it was worth the extra time for the kitties to build a trusting relationship. My best piece of advice is to let things happen slowly and on your pets’ own time for lasting results. Best wishes for you and your new furry friend!
~Written by guest blogger Jenny B!