Q: I have a seven-year-old Ragdoll named Cuddles. I recently adopted a year-old local cat, Dimples, from a shelter. Unfortunately, Cuddles did not take to the new feline well and the two sometimes get into aggressive fights. Is there anything I can do to help both of them live peaceably?
A: Being the resident cat, Cuddles is naturally protective of her home and will be wary of any new additions to the family. A lot of people are mistaken in thinking that cats will get along fine with new felines that join the brood at home. They are very territorial and most of them do not get along. Time is the key in resolving the issue that you are facing.
When introducing Cuddles to the Dimples, the latter has to be in a carrier or behind a barrier to prevent any direct physical contact. Allow them to spend time getting to know each other from a distance. Continue doing this for the next couple of days. Bear in mind that Dimples has to be isolated from Cuddles until the two of them can get along.
When the cats have developed a sense of familiarity and are at ease in each other’s presence, release the newcomer and let them sniff each other physically. Always be ready to separate them immediately if either one starts to hiss and show signs of aggression. You need to continue doing this till they grow fond of each other. Another method is to feed them together, as food, to a certain extent, helps them bond.
Remember that cats need proper introduction just like we do. As it is with humans, once we are properly introduced, there will be less hostility and relationships will build over time. Not every cat will get along fine with another at first sight, and it largely depends on their individual character and breed.
Image source: http://static.ddmcdn.com