What are the best ways to successfully introduce a new cat into my household of pets?

  • If you have a pet that is known to be aggressive toward other animals, it is best to seek professional behavior advice before introducing a new cat.  This is especially true if you have a cat or dog that has been known to be aggressive toward other pets in the past.
  • Provide the new cat with a safe, secure area that has everything he or she needs including food, water, litter box, toys, etc.  This space should be separate and secure from other cats when they are not supervised.  Do not allow cats to be left alone together until they have proven to get along without negative interactions.
  • Make sure the introductions are slow, gradual, positive, and supervised:
      1. Place the new cat in a carrier initially for introductions, or on a harness for control so they do not provoke your existing cat.  They can also be allowed to sniff and smell each other under a door.
      2. Use a Feliway diffuser or cat pheromone collars to keep both cats calm
      3. Make sure all cats have appropriate outlets for play.

How do I prevent territorial or aggressive behavior?

  • Know the warning signs – territorial aggression is manifested by stalking, chasing and aggressive encounters which may lead to injury.
  • Provide adequate resources for ALL cats – separate and adequate food and water bowls, litter boxes, and room to run and play for all cats.
  • Make sure that all cats are spayed and neutered before introductions if possible.

How do I prevent inappropriate urination and defecation?

Unfortunately, it is somewhat common for cats to develop inappropriate urination or defecation behaviors if a new cat is introduced without proper provisions.  Fortunately, you can help prevent this problem:

  • Provide at least 1 extra litter pan per total number of cats – so if you have 2 cats, have 3 litter pans.
  • Remove the lid from the litter pan – if a cat is using a covered litter box and is approached by another cat, they do not have an outlet to run away and may feel threatened, leading to inappropriate urination or defecation.
  • Scoop litter boxes several times a day, especially when the new cat is first introduced, it should be scooped as soon as the cat soils the litter pan, if possible.
  • Empty all litter and clean each pan weekly.
  • Make sure litter pans are easily accessible to all cats and are large enough.

There are times when, despite all of the correct introductions and management, cats do not get along.  More specific veterinary help or management, which may or may not include medical intervention and anxiety reducing medication, may be needed.

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