A new cat in the family

Bringing home a new cat is exciting for the whole family, but your resident pets might be a bit cautious about this new arrival. Here’s our handy guide so introductions go smoothly.

Introducing your new cat meets your existing cat

Just like their owners, all cats have their own distinct personality. Some are sociable, and some less so, so please be patient when introducing a new cat. Slow introductions are critical for a harmonious household with your new cat and resident pet.

Here are our top tips:

  • Keep your new cat in a gernerous-sized room with litter tray, food, water and a warm bed for up to a week.
  • Allow your resident cat to smell under the door.
  • Feed both cats on either side of the door so they associate food with each other’s smell.
  • If all is going well, prop the door open so the cats can see each other.
  • Switch your cats’ blankets so they get used to each other’s smell.
  • Rub a towel on one cat, and put it under the feeding dish of the other.
  • Once your new cat is settled in the room, allow them access to the rest of the house while confining your resident cat.
  • It’s time for introductions – if either cat gets too fearful or aggressive, start over from the top of this list.

Introducing your new cat to your dog

Cats and dogs are not often natural buddies, but they sure can be. Here’s how to do the introductions for a happy home.

  1. If necessary, have your dog take extra obedience training ahead of time to brush up on their manners and recall.
  2. Keep your new cat in a generous-sized room with a litter tray, food, water and a warm bed for up to a week.
  3. Allow your dog to smell under the door.
  4. Feed both pets on either side of the door so they associate something good with each other’s smell.
  5. Allow the cat and dog to see each other through a gap in the door.
  6. Take items that smell of the cat and dog, and switch them up in your home.
  7. When they meet each other your dog must be controlled. Allow your cat space to explore while your dog sits calmly.
  8. Plenty of short, controlled meetings should build your cat’s confidence so they can be around each other without fear or aggression.
  9. Don’t allow your dog to chase and terrorise your cat as fear is very difficult to unlearn.

Introducing your new kitten to your kids

The personality of a new kitten is greatly influenced by their environment in their early weeks, so it’s important to get it right. Here are five tips on how to introduce your new kitten to your kids.

  1. Explain carefully to your children that a kitten should be treated with great care.
  2. Teach the kids how to know if your kitten is unhappy e.g. running away, ears pinned down.
  3. Never leave very young children unsupervised with your kitten.
  4. Discourage any rough play where the kitten uses its claws.
  5. Encourage playing with toys so the kids don’t get scratched and bitten.

Whenever you’re introducing a new cat, be patient. Your home is your safe place, but it can be frightening and overwhelming for your new cat. Kindness, perseverance and understanding of basic cat behaviour are the keys to everyone getting along, so you can all have snuggles on the couch in no time.

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