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How to Introduce a New Cat to Other Pets

We love our feline friends, but we know that they don’t always love our other pets right away. Introducing a new cat to your existing pets is tricky, but it can be made trickier by the unpredictability of cats!

Whether you’re bringing home a new kitten, a rescue cat, or combining homes with pets, we’re here to help make sure the introduction of a new pet into your household goes smoothly!

Before we get started, it’s important to remember that new pets require patience. Introducing new pets to existing pets—and more importantly, getting them to play nicely—can take time. Practice patience whenever working with your animals and be sure to get advice from a professional (veterinarians, licensed dog trainers, etc.) whenever necessary. 

Introducing a new cat to another cat:

1. Before bringing a new cat home, create a separate space for them

You will want to separate your new cat from your existing cat(s) right away so you can have control over their first meeting. Allow your new feline friend to get comfortable in your home with a space of their own. 

This space should contain water, feeding dishes, and a litter box of their own. This is their little retreat for the next couple of days, and their first introduction to your home! 
Make sure that the room has multiple “hiding spots”, just in case the cat gets frightened. Hiding places are important! They may need a place to retreat to when confronted by other cats or when easing into a new household. 

2. Do “the switch”

You should allow the cats to enjoy their space for about 2-3 days. 

Once the animals appear comfortable in their spaces, do “the switch”: move the existing cat(s) into the new cat’s space, and allow the new cat to roam the existing cat’s space. 

Allow the cats to roam the “new” spaces and become familiar with the other cat’s scent. This acclimation process can take place over one day. 

3. The Meeting

Let the cats get familiar by sensing each other through a closed door. You can allow them to paw at each other under the door if they’re being friendly. 

After they seem comfortable with each other’s presence (this could take a few days or even a few weeks – use your best judgement), allow them to meet by opening the door. 
It is always a good idea to have treats on-hand for the meeting. Reward the cats with treats throughout the meeting.

If there are any signs of stress, separate the cats again. 

Introducing a new cat to a dog:

“Fighting like cats and dogs” is just a phrase – there are so many instances when cats and dogs get along and happily share a household. 

1. Build them a dog-free zone

You will want to separate your new cat from your dog right away so you can have control over their first meeting, but this dog-free zone also serves as a retreat for your kitty cat in the event that the cat feels threatened or upset by your dog. 

Ensure that this space contains their water bowl, food bowl, and a litter box of their own. Set up some “hiding spots” for your kitty to help them feel extra safe. 

2. Keep them separate

Keep the animals separate for a few days. Allow your cat to get accustomed to their new home. This period away from each other allows the pets to get used to being in the same home together without making contact. 

3. The pre-meeting meeting

Allow the animals to interact with each other on opposite sides of a door. You can feed them near the door to teach them to associate the other with “good” things. 

They might be curious and paw at each other under the door. Allow them to do so if it seems pleasant. 

4. Meet on neutral ground

Facilitate a short meeting in a common area of the house. Perhaps this is your living room. Keep your dog on a leash if necessary and allow the new cat to come and go as they please. 

It is important that you stay calm and collected during the meeting. Try to relax and speak to the animals in a calm matter. It’s also a good idea to keep a few treats on hand for each animal and reward them for good behavior throughout the meeting periods. You can also have lots of toys around for them to entertain themselves.

Continue these brief, controlled meetings (again, on neutral ground) until the animals seem like they’re familiar and content with one another. 

5. Allow them to mingle freely

Let the animals roam but be sure to keep an eye on them. Some people like to let their dog drag their leash throughout the home so you can easily stop them if they get too excited or show any aggression towards the new cat. 

Once the introductions have been made, and your new feline friend is settling in, it’s time to think about pet health insurance to protect them. We’ve got you covered – run a free quote to see rates for your new cat today or call us to chat with one of our licensed agents if you have any questions about pet insurance.