Introducing your new cat:
2nd Dec, 2018
This article follows on from my previous blog article ‘what is a cat’ which attempts to explain cats. From there one can deduce what a cat needs. As discussed in the previous article, when introducing a new cat, both the resident and new cat will need their own ‘core territory’.
When introducing another cat you need to ensure that the existing cat and any new cat each have their own ‘core territory’. An easy way of rationalising this is a room each!
Groups of cats living together need to feel that there are enough of what they need to go round.
Each ‘core territory’ should provide:
- Food (ideally off floor)
- Water (separate from food)
- Hiding places
- High resting places – having access to high space reduces stress
- A litter tray (or direct access to the outdoors)
- Scratching post
Establish the core area for the new cat before introducing the new cat. The existing cat should be denied access to this area.
As stated above cats have a wider territory outside of their ‘core territory’, provided each cat has their own core territory away from that of the other cat/s, it’s perfectly possible to time share other areas of the house from the beginning:
Ideally use child-gates reinforced with chicken wire to separate the house so that the cats each have freedom but can’t actually meet.
Keep the new cat confined to their ‘core territory’ while the resident cat roams and vice versa
Don’t allow them to meet at the barrier to begin with
The ideal set up could be a ‘core territory’ either side of the house and shared communal areas in between.
In addition to the resources in each individual cat’s core territory you also need to provide resources in the communal areas – see handouts ‘environmental enrichment’ and ‘resources’
Keep the resident and new cat separate to begin with.
If each cat has their own ‘core territory’ and time shared access to the rest of the house is sorted out from the start then there is no pressure to introduce them quickly. The longer you take the more likely you will be to succeed.