If One is Good! Can Two be Better?




Are you thinking of bringing a second cat home as a friend and playmate for your resident cat?

If you are, here are a few things to consider.

Cats as a rule are solitary creatures and very territorial. Kitty Number One may resent a second cat in the house.

It will take time to introduce the two cats to each other. Do you have the time and patience to do it?

A second cat means “two of every thing.” Do you have room for two of everything including litter boxes in separate places?

Will the extra expense tax your current budget? There will be extra food to buy, extra treats and toys plus two vet bills instead of one.

If you have an older female (8 years or older) and she has been the resident cat during that period of time, think twice before you do it. Female cats that have been in control of a household for a long period of time, as a general rule so not think kindly of newcomers. Kitten or cat, it matters not.

However, with a little advanced planning, patience and time you can work things out.

If your resident cat is a female and is not very old (less that 6 or 7 years) a young cat male or female that has been neutered or spayed and is smaller in stature may work out fine.

On the other hand if you have a young male cat getting another young male cat will just add to the fun. Hopefully both have been neutered as two toms could mean trouble. Males tend to bond with males as long as both of them are not dominate males.

Now, if you have a nice “old man” cat (a neutered male) that is getting up in years (not necessarily elderly,) but is not a robust male, a second cat, male or female, cat or kitten, most generally will not cause any problems.

My Mr. Whiskers enjoyed playing “grandpa” to all our newcomers along with keeping the older cats in line. When he passed away at the age of 18 years, it created a very large hole in our cat family and changed the behavior patterns of a few of the cats to the negative side.

Cats operate on “scent.” Cats use “scent markings” to tell of their comings and goings. Cats use urination, feces, spraying and various parts of their bodies to leave scent marks. It is with this unique ability that cats have to “read” scent that we are going to introduce the second cat into your household.

Before you bring the second cat home a trip to the vet is advised. It is very important that you do not bring any type of a disease home to the resident cat. Another good suggestion is to observe a 10-day quarantine, keeping the new cat away from direct contact with the resident cat just in case there is a “silent germ” lurking.

With advance planning as our theme you have already found a quiet room for the new cat, placed all the necessary things in the room and made certain that there were no safety hazards.

When you are ready to bring the second cat home, do not allow face to face contact between the two cats. Move the new cat quickly into the “safe room” and allow it to come out of the carrier at will. Leave the new cat alone for a few hours and devote your attention to cat #1.

It is important that you devote a great deal of time to the main cat. Your resident cat will know that there is a stranger in its home and may begin to get anxious.

Imagine if you will, if one of the members of your household brought someone home to live with you and did not inform you. You would feel rather upset and a little angry at having your space invaded. You could in fact protest, poor kitty cannot.

For the first day or two you will be dividing your time between the two cats. Making the new kitty feel at home and your resident cat happy.

After the second day it is time to exchange scents, either take 2 washcloths and rub each cat with one to get their scent or take a piece of their bedding and give it to each cat to smell. If possible do this several times during the day and keep it up for at least 2 days.

The next step is to exchange rooms for a while. Do this without letting either cat see the other. I suggest putting the second cat in the bathroom for a minute while you put the resident cat in the new cat’s room and then let the second cat out to explore the house.

Allow each cat an hour or so for exploring each other’s domain. When you do the re-exchange do not let them see each other. Go through this process several times during the day if possible and do it for several days.

By now they are both very much aware of each other. In order to create a little more interest get two toy mice or something with feathers on it and tie them together with string allowing enough slack so it can be played with. Slide this masterpiece under the door so that a toy is on either side and the cats can see it. Adding a little catnip can add to the excitement. With a little luck there should be some interactive play.

As it is getting close to the end of the quarantine period and you have still been exchanging scent articles, it is time for a face to face meeting. There are several ways to arrange this and I have found what I feel is the safest, I would put the new kitty in the carrier and bring it out to meet the resident cat. By now they should have a very good feel for each other and the meeting should be mostly peaceful.

Expect a few hisses and growls, do not let kitty out of the carrier at this point. Give them time to scope each other out. If there is no real confrontation and they both seem fairly calm you could try the next step. However have a spray bottle with water handy just in case.

I would take the second cat back to its safe room, let it out of the carrier, and open the door just wide enough for the two cats to see each other and sit back and watch. Be prepared to spray one or the other if it turns into a fight. They may hiss and growl a little, but that is “kitty talk” leave them alone.

If the meeting is peaceful give them each a treat. Do not leave them unsupervised until you are certain they are going to get along. If you leave the house or when you are going to bed at night I would put the second cat back in its “safe room” and out of harm’s way until you can be certain they are getting along.

Do not use force to bring the animals together, let them proceed at their own pace. Do not punish either one, if one is more ornery than the other.

Cats do not take to punishment very well and if you scream, yell or try to hit one of them all your hard work will be lost.

Patience in this case needs to prevail.

For a few more helpful tips on making the introduction work see best friends