No matter what variation of modern family exists in your current home, bringing a new cat into the house can always shake up the dynamics - for the better, of course! However, to make the introduction as smooth as possible, a little preparation goes a long way.
As we all know, there are many benefits of living with cats. Spending time with a cat or kitten is calming and therapeutic, reducing stress and anxiety. It can also boost your immunity and decrease the risk of allergies. What more can we say?
So how do you ensure that these precious new family members are integrated as smoothly as possible? Perhaps you already have a cat with a firmly established home territory. Or maybe you are considering introducing a cat to your dog. Whatever the situation is, you should understand the warning signs when introducing cats and the best way to handle these situations when they occur.
The potentially chaotic warning signs when introducing cats may not just be limited to the other purfect pets in your home. Introducing a new cat to curious toddlers and active children also require some care. The reason for this is that any sudden changes and lots of foot traffic can also trigger anxiety in naturally territorial cats. So, without further ado, let’s dive into our top tips for introducing cats and creating a loving home for all!
How to Introduce Cats to Your Home and Family
Step 1: Create a Safe Space
Before bringing the new kitty home, choose an area that will initially belong to the newcomer alone. It could be a spare bedroom, office, or even a bathroom. The aim is to give the new kitty a chance to establish its scent in that closed off area. It’s best that this step is done before being introduced to another cat, pet, or wider household too.
Step 2: Slowly Introduce Other Pets to the Area
Once the new cat is calm in this space, carefully remove and keep the kitty out of sight as you complete this step. When the coast is clear, allow your existing cat or dog to enter into this closed space and become familiar with the smell. This will help them become used to your new cat’s scent and will adjust quicker once the cuties finally meet.
Step 3: Open Up Your Home for Exploration
While your current pet is closed in the new cat’s safe space (under your supervision), let the new kitty explore the rest of the home. It’s important that they don’t actually meet each other yet. At this stage, they are simply swopping scents.
By doing this, you are actively creating a space that your cat feels comfortable in. As a result, the potential for problems will decrease.
Step 4: Encourage Engagement
A great way to get your pets socializing is to set up their feeding station close to one another. What’s worked best for us is to place their feeding bowls on either side of the door. This way, your new kitty is safely protected in their room while your other pet can still easily engage from the other side. Again, the aim here is to get your pets used to each other before actually meeting.
Thankfully, as you’re navigating this transitional stage, there are several helpful aids to enable a safer home for all. For instance, our Door Buddy adjustable strap can be easily used to block off areas for your new kitty and household pets. By using this strap, you can give your new cat the freedom to retreat in the time of anxiety to their room while keeping other pets out. All you have to do is set the strap’s width to suit your cat while being small enough to stop others from entering the room.
Step 5: Take Your Time
Once you’ve repeated this exercise a few times, the gradual introduction to each other’s scents and a temporarily closed space for the new cat will reduce the chances of panic attacks. It could take anything from a few hours to a few days.
As part of our tips for introducing cats, taking your time is the most important. The newest addition to your home will require some time to adjust to their surroundings and to feel comfortable to explore. Using protective aids like pet doors and door latches can be a real time-saver in terms of dog and baby proofing your home through this period. If you have a little toddler who likes to explore, aids like the Door Buddy can keep them from getting their hands in the kitty litter while keeping your cat calm.
Bringing a new kitty home is an exciting time for all! However, it can also be slightly stressful for your furry friend. Following these tips for introducing cats can help soothe your cat while preparing the entire household for their arrival. Remember, take your time and be patient. The more committed you are to making these small adjustments in your home, the better everyone will get along!
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