First Impressions

Bringing a new cat into the home

Source: Sarah Whitehead
Feline Advisory Bureau Volume 39 (2) 2001 p 43

Cat owners often overlook the fact that cats need time to accept a new individual into the home, be it another cat, dog or human. Most cats will view a feline newcomer as an ‘intruder’ in their territory so it is important to take things slowly with no visual contact initially so that each cat can become accustomed to the scent signals of the other. Scents can then be exchanged by petting one cat and then the other, so that there is a collective ‘group’ smell. The new cat can then be placed in a large pen in the same room as the existing cat so that there is visual contact without risking physical conflict. Once the cats are more relaxed in each other’s presence they can be fed in the same room, with the new cat still in the pen, gradually moving the food bowls closer, until progression to first meetings without the pen. It’s important to remember however that with some cats, personality differences may never be overcome.