There are times when we think our homes and hearts are big enough for more than one cat. But cats are territorial creatures, first, and solitary creatures second. What that tells us is that cats can tolerate the presence of other cats – if their territory isn’t threatened. Here’s how you can speed up the process without the accompanying fur-flying all over the place:
1. Give Them Their Own Space
First, set aside a room just for the new cat to live in for the first two weeks. She’ll prefer it as well, as cats generally have a disdain towards new environments and will benefit from having a smaller one – to explore and feel safe in, at least for the first week.
Then, install a child-safe barrier and allow the new and OG (original) cat to smell each other from across the divide for a few minutes each day. If either cat shows stress or aggression, stop, but repeat the process again the next day.
2. Mix Their Scents
Cats mark their territory using pheromones, which are secreted by glands along the sides of their heads and body. You can mask the new cat’s scent by mixing it with OG cat’s.
One way to do this is to lightly scratch one cat around the cheeks, neck and ears with your hand, then use same hand to do the same to the other. Alternatively, feed each cat with dry food from your hand, and then rub their slobber on each other.
Also, allow the new cat to roam in OG cat’s territory for a few hours each day to allow their scents to mix in your home. Be sure to keep OG cat enclosed and safe during this time.
3. Easier With Kitten Or Opposite Gender
Some cat owners say an OG cat is more accepting of a new cat if it is a kitten or of the opposite gender. That kind of makes sense, but of course, all cats are different and you never know what will or won’t work for your cats.
4. Have Separate Trays & Dishes
To prevent your cats from fighting over food, water or even the toilet, you’re going to have to invest in separate dishes and litter trays. Let the new cat have one in his enclosed space so that he can get his scent in there. Then when he is allowed to roam your home (making sure they don’t fight anymore), place the litter tray and dishes in a different location from the OG cat’s.
5. Give Them Time
Lastly, we cannot emphasise enough that time has to be given to the process. Without fail, a lack of patience is the main reason why most new cats get returned or tossed out. Plenty of two-cat (or more) households exist to prove that cats can get along in the same home, so persevere, and don’t give up just because your cats hate each other on sight!