Introducing cats into a household of existing cats can be a stressful process. There are many things to consider when looking for a new cat and many other things to consider for initiating them into your family. While cats are not social by nature in the wild, humans have come up with many successful strategies for making your feline friends cooperate with each other. Below are five considerations when looking to add a new cat into your home.
While steps can be taken to make cats get along, it is important to understand your current feline's temperament. Are your cats used to other cats? Generally, cats that have grown up around others will have a much easier time welcoming a new member to the family. Cats that have been raised solely around humans tend to be less sociable, and a new cat can cause them to have considerable stress and anxiety.
It is important to consider age when choosing a new cat. If you choose to adopt or buy a kitten, the high energy levels might be too much for an elderly cat to handle. Kittens and young cats typically love to play, run around the house, and bother their brothers and sisters, so it helps if cats are around the same age.
Designate a space
When welcoming a new cat into the household, make sure that they have a small private space that only they can access. This should be done regardless of if there are cats already, as cats are incredibly anxious until they have settled into their surroundings. This will put your new cat less on edge and able to become accustomed to their environment and surroundings.
Cats rely on pheromones and scent a lot. You can see this with your cats; they typically like to rub their cheeks onto objects and surfaces, which releases pheromones and relaxes them. By keeping them physically separated, you allow each cat to get acquainted with each other without the possibility of a physical altercation.
Vaccinations and illness
It is very important to make sure that a new cat has had the required vaccinations and medical check-ups before introducing them to your other cats. Make sure to get hold of their medical records and go to your vet to double-check that everything is in the clear. Additionally, it is equally important to make sure your existing feline friends are up-to-date medically. Diseases such as FeLV (feline leukaemia virus) and FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) are contagious, so vaccines are of paramount importance. It would be good practice to take your cats for a check-up at the vet clinic before introdocuing them to their new buddy.