Introducing a new member to the family can be a stressful time for all involved….especially for your cat! Cats generally do not like change and like with any new sibling, sharing space and attention can be hard! With a lot of careful planning and patience, cats can live in peace (well at least tolerate) your new furbaby. But don’t rush…this process can take a few days to a few weeks!

Mom, is the new kid nice?

The Big Day:

On the day you bring your new furbaby home, place your cat in their favourite room with their bed, blankets, food and water. Allow your new baby to explore the house and then secure it in a room or crate/large cage of its own, with their comfy new bed, water and of course a treat! While they settle down, allow your cat to explore the house and become familiar with the new scent.

Repeat this over the next few days, allowing each animal their turn to have access to the whole house without ever confronting one another. During this time, work on basic obedience if your new furbaby is a dog so that you have some control over them when it comes to introducing them to your cat face to face.

I’m ready to make friends!

The First Meeting:

When both pets are used to the new scent, it’s time for them to meet! Do this when everyone is at their calmest…especially if you have an excited new puppy. If you have a puppy, it is best to introduce them with the puppy on a leash and to distract him with treats.

If your cat is comfortable in a cage, you can keep your cat in a carry cage, elevated from the ground – so they don’t feel threatened. Remember not to punish any aggressive behaviour as they will undoubtedly be unpleased! If your puppy becomes too excited, it’s best to remove them from the room. After a few days of this, you can let your cat roam free. When you are ready to let your cat out of the cage, make sure your dog is on a leash and that your cat has an easy escape route. Remember to never leave your pets unsupervised.

When first introducing your new kitten to your resident cat, it is best to keep your kitten in their crate or cage. You may want to place a box inside the cage as a hidey spot and some tasty food so that your new kitten feels secure. Open the door to your new kitten’s room and allow your family cat to explore the room at their own pace without interruption. Remember to give your family cat plenty of positive attention during this period. When both cats are calm around each other, you can move the cage with the kitten to other rooms of increasing importance to your family cat, excluding the room where they spend the majority of their time.

You can’t see me here.

The final touch:

Once this step has been successful, you can then introduce your new furbaby to your family cat! Make sure your puppy has mastered the sit and stay commands and remember to always supervise their interactions until they are completely comfortable with one another. Just keep in mind, this process can take up to a few weeks or months, but if done correctly will go a long way to ensuring your new furbaby and family cat are friends for life!

Don’t forget about me <3

The fun addition:

The process of introduction is made more fun by getting a little help here and there. Use of relaxing synthetic pheromones such as Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs make them feel secure at uncertain times. Make sure to continue your regular routine with your family cat as much as possible. Predictability in their life removes unnecessary anxiety and make sure you are giving lots of attention to your family cat. It’s natural that you want to spend all of your time with the new member of the family but remember to give extra care and loving to your good old pal.

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