(best way to introduce a new cat into a multi-cat family)



Have you ever been the new kid at school? We have all been new somewhere at some time in our lives. Remember feeling anxious about how you would be perceived and if you would find friends and feel welcome. Whether this was in a new job, school, social group or even at a party, you felt a little stressed or at least anxious. Everyone wants to be accepted and feel they are part of something.

Imagine if you will, a cat that has either been left out in the cold by an uncaring person or persons after they move away or a cat that has been terribly abused or suffered from an injury caused by living in the perils of being outdoors in the elements. Now, they have been rescued, but being rescued means being in a cage with no room to roam. When you find the perfect cat or cats, they are now in a new element, more spacious but new and find themselves with yet another change in their lives. The change is better for them, but they don’t know it yet. They are afraid and anxious, especially if the home also has a dog or dogs.

PLEASE, PLEASE - Don’t turn your new member lose into the mix the minute you walk into the door The old sink or swim method will most time result in friction or even chaos for the whole household. Your other pets now have to get used to someone new also. This can cause spraying on walls and furniture to mark their territory, ignoring the litter box in favor of your nice sofa or new carpet. You have to be very patient and kind to new and old pets and once again reinforce the “I love you all the same” notion.

My household has a mix of colors, sizes and personalities. What we found the best way to get everyone settled and used to anyone new is to isolate them in a room all their own (if available to you). We took the door off and put a screen door up on our storage/utility room,so the cat or cats can see the others and smell them, but not be pushed right into their territory right away. The room needs to have the essentials of litter box, food, water, and also hiding places. Cats need places to hide out when they want to get away. Putting some good boxes in the room or even make a little curtain type tent over what you have in the room. Anything that can be made into a hiding spot is good. Don’t forget to put toys in. The ring circle toy with the ball and scratching pad in the middle is always good. Anything works that can keep them amused while getting a little break. This type of room at our house is also used when we have cats spayed or neutered and they need to recover.

The photos below will give you a good idea of our special room for newcomers:


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You can buy a screen door at Home Depot for around $40. It is easy to install.

The ring toy with cardboard scratcher will keep them from getting bored during their stay

A double dish for food and water. Wet food should also be given at least once a day.

The carrier with the door off is a great hiding place and the blanket on the shelf a good sleeping spot.

Blankets can be put up and made into tent like hiding places for the shy guests.

Having a window to look out is great for the cat. The "s" shaped scratching post is great and most cats love them. Walmart has for $19.95