Help! My cat doesn’t like her new brother
Since March-time, most of us have been spending the majority of our days in our homes. For a lot of pet owners, it was the most time they had ever spent with their pet, and what a bonding experience it was. Now life starts to resume some level of normal, the thought of leaving our furry friends can be heartbreaking. How will they cope after having company 24/7 for a long period of time? Will separation anxiety become a problem?
These concerns, coupled with the joy many have felt spending so much time with their furbabies, have led to pet owners getting a second pet to keep their first company. What’s important to remember though, is that you might be really excited at the prospect of another furball, but your kitty might not feel the same.
Introducing your cats
Now, the first thing you need to prepare is a private space for your new cat. Here there should be access to food, water, a litter box, something to scratch, and some toys. It needs to be a space that your first cat doesn’t have access to. Your two cats will be able to smell each other through the door and pick up new scents on you. Allow them to sniff these if you see fur standing up or one of them starts vocalizing, distract them with a toy and move them from the door or move away from them if the scent is on you. If one kitty gets visibly agitated, you will need to take things slower.
What you need to be doing in this phase is sharing the scents of each cat with the other in a positive way, as it will make the proper introduction more exciting than scary. Then, trade their spaces. Put your new cat where your existing cat spends her time and vice versa. The idea is that they get used to each other before they meet.
Face to face meeting:
Open the door between them just an inch. Let them have a glimpse at each other, if they show no aggression then offer them treats and toys – pet them and praise them. As long as they are calm, let them spend time together 3-5 times a day.
However, if you experience some agitation, immediately separate the two cats by closing the door. Keep them separate, and share their scents for a day or two – then try again.
When both cats seem happy for more than 10 mins, it’s time to move to the next stage.
Spending time together:
Introduce, without the door, your two cats in a neutral location. Let them interact for up to 10 minutes up to five times a day. If you notice any misbehaving or fear, shorten the periods of time they spend together. If aggression hits, move back to the previous step.
If it’s been about a week and your furbabies have been calm throughout, you can leave them alone for short periods of time – kitty cams are a great way to keep an eye on them when you’re out of the room.
If all this goes swimmingly, then they’ll be able to be together 24/7. If you have some spats here and there, try not to worry, just move back a step if you need to and then try again. Eventually, you’re two furry friends will find a way to live in harmony.