Introducing a new cat

Bella and Smokey, two cats meeting at an exterior doorway

Bella and Smokey - Credit: Feline Network Cat Rescue

With so many people taking on a new cat over the last year, we have had many inquiries about settling the cat, and why problems ensue when this is not done properly.

You need to give your new cat time to settle, remember everything is strange, no familiar smells or places, and cats use their sense of smell as much as they use sight and hearing.

Ideally start your cat off in one quiet room, with all their food and tray.

After a few days, they can venture out and you can place the tray when you intend it to be permanently.

Make sure it is always accessible.  

Never place food and water near the tray, no one wants to eat their lunch on the loo! Litter may also end up in the food.

Ideally, place water further away. Cats do not like the water and food together. In the wild they would find fresh water by smell, so the food would override the smell of water.

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If you have other cats and or dogs, during the first few days, they can sniff one another under the door etc. When you eventually introduce them, make sure you fuss the resident cat or dog in front of the new one - you might find there is hissing and such like but this usually passes over a few days.

Ideally feed them separately until they are both comfortable.

If the new cat is feeling unsure, they may try to bury their food, usually by pulling something on top of it.  

It is also worth giving the new cat something that the resident cat has slept on, and vice versa.

After a few days you can slightly wedge the door open so they can see one another.   

When you let them meet for the first time, allow the new cat to retreat to their room, this process can take a few days but with time this is the best way to approach the situation and will make things smoother in the long run.  

If you would like further information on this please to email us at felinenetwork2009@gmail.com