When Tabby Met Sally: How to Properly Introduce Your New Feline

Did you know that June is “Adopt a Cat Month”? According to American Humane Society, June is also a time where you may be seeing more stray kittens out and about and ending up in shelters. Have you been thinking about adopting a sweet kitty to make your household complete? Do you have another cat or a dog that needs a proper introduction to a new feline friend? Look no further than below, as we discuss the proper methods of cat-cat and cat-dog introductions in order to ensure a life-long bond between your furry family members!

Introducing Feline to Feline:

It’s recommended to first keep your new kitty separate from your existing kitty. Why? Because this will allow your new member assimilate to their brand new environment, while getting used to the scents of the other feline. If you want to confine your new cat in a room, make sure your new kitty has all his necessities like food, water, litter box, play time, and spaces to climb and hide when he wants to! After a couple days, you can switch the cats and their rooms, in order for both of them to get used to each other’s scents. Play time with each of the cats separately is crucial, in order for them to reach a positive association with each other’s odor. Next, you can let both felines see each other face-to-face with your constant supervision, while remembering to never push their friendship too far or too fast! This process may take up to a week and a half. But if you go at the right pace, your felines will be best furrends in no time!

Introducing Feline to Canine:

Like above, it’s best to keep your new feline in a room with their necessities. This will allow your cat to get used to it’s new home and the scents and sounds of their soon-to-be canine friend. It can be very overwhelming for a cat to be transitioned into a home with a big, bellowing beast that is your dog, so remember to take it slow! After a couple days of your new kitty getting accustomed to their new space, you can begin to slowly introduce them by leashing your pup and place him in a “down-stay” command. For all things to run as smoothly as possible, it’s preferred to have your pooch master these common commands before bringing any feline home. Let the kitty out of the room and intently watch for signs that your dog might lunge or your cat might pounce. It’s best to make their initial face-to-face interaction one that merely allows both species to get used to the presence of one another—no contact needs to be made. Allowing your new kitty to escape (in case anything goes awry) is crucial. You can do this by using baby gates that allow your cat to jump over but can also block your pup from approaching. Treats, praise, and playtime are also necessary in order to foster positive associations with each other. Once you notice your cat and dog seemingly disinterested in each other, you can take the leash off your dog. This process may take up to a couple weeks and this is okay! Remember to be patient and calm as dogs and cats have a keen sense of your energy!

Other Important Factors to Consider:

Before (hopefully) adopting your new feline fur ball, it’s important to consider the personality of your current pet. Does your current cat hiss at other animals or people? Does your current dog lunge at squirrels scurrying past? These behavior patterns are good predictors of whether or not a new feline member should be added into the mix. If you adopt a cat that has been around other pets in the past, is confident but not aggressive, and/or is independent and easy going, you are sure to have an easier transition. For dogs, all these factors are true as well, however if your pup also knows his “down-stay” command, you should be all set to follow these introduction guidelines!

Have any other useful tips on how to introduce your new feline into your home? Thinking about adopting one soon? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below! We would love to hear from you!

Sources: 

American Humane

PetMD

Petfinder

Vetstreet

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