ntroducing a new feline into the home is very common among cat guardians, however the idyllic image of several happy cats often transforms into a reality of snorting, chasing, fighting, and stress . And, due to the nature of the species, it is not always easy to achieve a quick and pleasant coexistence.
In this article from Animal Expert we will explain how to make one cat accept another , detailing what to take into account before adoption to guarantee a good coexistence or how to act when two cats are already coexisting and conflicts appear.
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- How to choose a second cat?
- How to introduce a new cat at home?
- Introducing the cats
- Why does my cat not accept another?
- Why does my cat not accept the new kitten?
- How long does it take for one cat to accept another?
- How to correct jealousy between cats?
- How to improve the coexistence between several cats?
How to choose a second cat?
It is completely understandable that we are tempted to adopt a cat due to its age or physical characteristics, however, it is essential to take into account the individual character of the individual to guarantee a good coexistence. It will be important that we check in the shelter or foster home if it is correctly socialized , otherwise it is very likely that you do not know the feline language and that you are afraid or aggressive towards our feline. We will also ask about activity levels or their gaming needs, among others, to find out if they will be compatible on a day-to-day basis.
An elderly cat that needs a lot of calm and tranquility will easily suffer stress if we adopt a restless and active puppy. Likewise, those cats that have a very close bond with their owners and that barely show interest in the game will feel very uncomfortable in the presence of a feline that constantly wants to incite them to the game.
How to introduce a new cat at home?
Once the perfect companion is chosen we will proceed to adapt the house for cats , placing shelves, nests or a scraper tree so that they can move to a safe place whenever they feel uncomfortable. We must also ensure that the new feline has its own utensils: bowls, bed, litter box and scraper.
To guarantee a favorable environment we can also use calming pheromones for cats, synthetic copies of the natural pheromones that cats release to their young and that provide well-being and relaxation to all kittens. In this sense, it is one of the most recommended options on the market, since it improves the well-being of cats, helping them to live in harmony and thus avoiding tension, fighting and conflict. This product also has scientific studies that support its efficacy  .
Introducing the cats
Once we have everything ready we will take the new cat home in a rigid carrier. In no case should we leave the cat free at home as soon as we arrive , as this would provoke races, nervousness and favor the appearance of aggressive behaviors.
We can use the 15-day method , which is that both animals must start by being inside the home, separated, and without the possibility of even making eye contact.
The first initiative for coexistence will be mixing odors. We can exchange accessories or simply touch one cat and let the other cat smell us and vice versa. We will maintain these exchanges until no negative reaction occurs in any of the cats.
The next phase is the visual one and in it we will be able to allow the animals to see themselves through a window or keeping one of them inside a carrier for about 10 or 15 minutes. If anyone is bothered we will end the contact and we will try again until the reactions are positive. Offering them prizes or petting creates a good environment that allows the cat to associate the other with positive feelings.
Finally, we can let them share space , always in our presence to be able to separate them to the minimum conflict. Each cat must have its own litter box, feeder, scraper, etc. These elements must be easily accessible to both.
Why does my cat not accept another?
Cats are territorial and customs animals . They like to live in an environment without changes, as well as having their own space and resources. That is to say, your bed, your sandbox, your feeder, etc. And although it may happen that our cat is a very sociable animal and willingly accepts the company of a second individual, the most common thing is that it will be unhappy with the arrival of another cat in its territory.
It will manifest it acting against the newcomer with more or less intensity or developing a stress picture . In the first case, animosity will be evident to us. On the other hand, in the second one it may go unnoticed because there are no direct attacks against the new cat. Although this is a major problem, throughout the article we will see how to make one cat accept another.
Why does my cat not accept the new kitten?
If we introduce a new cat into the home without any precaution, it is most common that we witness symptoms of non-acceptance in both cats such as the following:
- The cat snorts at the new kitten or the other way around, which is usually the most common sign. In some cases the disagreement remains in this gesture or, at most, the cat will growl at the new kitten.
- Other signs of disagreement will be hitting the legs, staring or preventing accessto food, sandpit or rest areas.
- There are also cats that react by stressing. They seem to ignore the other and withdraw, hide, stop eating, groom themselves excessivelyto the point of losing hair, etc. All this describes a stress picture.
- In more severe cases the cat attacks the new kitten or the other way around. Luckily it is not the most common behavior but we can run into cats that cannot even see a fellow animal. We will observe a very specific body language: ears close to the head, back or to the side, hunched body, raised tail, snorts, hisses, grunts and other warning signs. In the most serious cases, the tail will stand on end and the cat will attack while making powerful meows.
Many people also wonder “why is my cat snorting at the new kitten”. Well, we must know that aggressive reactions between cats are independent of the sex or age of those involved . Thus, it can perfectly be a cat who buffs, growls or attacks and a kitten of a few months can be a victim of this situation.
However, we must know that even in situations as serious as attacks can be possible to redirect the situation .
How long does it take for one cat to accept another?
Having seen how to make one cat accept another, it is important to keep in mind that we cannot speak of fixed deadlines for finalizing the presentation guidelines, since these must be adapted to the reactions of each cat. We will follow the steps explained and we will only move on to the next once both cats are comfortable with the new situation. The process can take days or weeks and it is important that we have patience since trying to advance it could cause stress to the animals and end up delaying the coexistence.
How to correct jealousy between cats?
Some problems between cats like those we have described are interpreted by some caregivers as jealousy in cats , but the truth is that it is not proven that cats can express this feeling. On the contrary, the disputes between cats that have just been discovered are explained by the behavioral characteristics of the cats. In this way, these supposed jealousies are corrected following guidelines that improve the well – being of both individuals and that favor a good association between both.
How to improve the coexistence between several cats?
To finish the article we will share some basic tips that every owner should know to make two cats get along:
- We will always use positive reinforcement(caresses, words, toys …) so that the cat associates the presence of the other individual in a pleasant way. On the contrary, we will avoid the use of punishment , since it can cause the feline to negatively associate the presence or the approaches of the other cat. Even if conflicts do occur, we should not yell, “punish” or repress the cats. We will try to separate them calmly and firmly.
- We will ensure that all cats have their own accessories and places to take refuge when they feel scared, uncomfortable or looking for tranquility.
- We will use a synthetic pheromone diffuser that is supported by scientific studies, such as , to help us improve the well-being of individuals and create a more comfortable environment. We will only need to connect it to a socketthat is not under any furniture, away from windows and doors, in the room that spend the most time. In about 7 days we will begin to see the effect on our cats, that is, a reduction in conflict and hostile signals .
- If serious fighting continues and none of the measures taken seems to work, we will go to a veterinarian specialized in ethology to rule out health problems and arrive at an accurate behavioral diagnosis.
- We can also assess, together with the advice of our trusted veterinarian, castration of whole adult males, since studies indicate that aggressiveness is reduced in 53% of cases, escapism in 56% and marking in 78% [2 ].