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  • Writer's pictureSaving Animals Matters

The 'PURRFECT' Introduction- What you need to know!

Bringing a new furry friend home can be a big adjustment when you already have cats in the home. Home introductions can take time- sometimes weeks or even months. This process should not be rushed. A slow introduction and moving at your cat’s own pace is the best way you can set your kitty and the adoption up for success! 

Stage 1- Safe space

When bringing your new kitty home, make sure you have a quiet space set up just for them as their “home base” (this should have some cozy bedding litter tray food/water etc). Do not introduce your new cat to your house cat straight away. How fast the process goes depends on your cats individual personality & needs. Some may take longer than others, and that’s ok!

Stage 2- Scent swapping

Find some items that both your existing kitty/s and new adopted kitty are fond of (items that smell like them, e.g. a blanket) and swap these items. This will allow the kitties to sniff each-others scent and develop some familiarisation with one another before any direct introductions. It’s a great idea to put some treats on the blanket when swapping to create positive associations. After doing this a few times you can let them swap areas where they can freely explore. 

 Stage 3- Saying HI!

Once your kitties have become accustomed to each other’s scent, its time for slow introductions. Start in a neutral space with escape routes if your kitties need. Remember that positive associations are key! We want avoid stare offs and stand offs. If another person can help, start by playing with the kitties at opposite ends of the room. Stay far enough apart that both kitties are comfortable. If own kitty/s isn't overly playful, you can do the same but with pats and treats. Practice this multiple times only moving closer when both kitties appear comfortable. Treats, pats and playing are your friend in this situation. You can also use a baby gate here if you like, just to create an extra barrier between the cats until they are more comfortable with one another. 

Helpful tips

  • Separate playtime and cuddle time is also important so that both cats feel loved and not in competition with one another. 

  • Make sure your cats have their own food/water bowls and for every cat in the house there should be a litter tray +1 (2 cats = 3 litter trays, 3 cats = 4 litter trays) 

  • Feliway and Feliway friends diffusers can be great during the introduction period to help create a calm atmosphere.

  • If you are really struggling with your cats getting along reach out to your veterinarian or pet behaviouralist for more support.

Written by Megan, Saving Animals Matters

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