TWO’S COMPANY

Hello! Nigel, here! When we last spoke, I was an “only cat.” But I am happy to report that I am now a big brother. That’s right…this adorable little fellow is my new baby kitten brother, “Cecil”. Isn’t he fetching?

Dr. S and Dr. J felt that I was bored at home by myself and that I needed some companionship. I am so glad that they found Cecil. But I must say, if they hadn’t taken the time to carefully introduce him to my home, I might not have gotten along so well with him. Here are some things that you might want to know about adding a new kitten to your home….

First of all..in the wild, cats prefer to live with their blood relatives. It is uncommon for cats that are unrelated to decide to hang out together. So if you know right off the bat that you want more than one feline overlord in your home, it is best to get a pair of siblings from the same litter. Even a mother and child will usually make a good pair.

For many people, this is not an option as they currently have one or two cats and they later choose to add a new kitten. This doesn’t always work out very well. Cat relationships are usually between pairs of cats. This means that an existing cat could get along great with a new kitten introduced to the home, whereas another cat in the house may not. There is no guarantee that all cats will enjoy spending time with one another. Also, just because your cat liked a particular cat in the past, doesn’t mean that he will get along with ALL cats. There are some steps that you can take to try to make the introduction successful.

1. Transfer smell between the cats. Before introducing the new cat to the resident cat, place towels or blankets with each cat and then swap them after time has past to allow for smell to attach itself to the items. This should be done well before the two cats are introduced to one another face to face.

2. During introduction, keep the new cat inside of a cat carrier and allow the resident cat to approach the carrier to check out the stranger. There may be some hissing or low growling, but this is normal. Don’t try to interfere…just allow them to get acquainted with the site of one another. You can do this step a few times before allowing the crate to be opened.

3. Once they have seen each other behind crated door a few times, you can try opening the crate and allowing the new cat to venture out. In most cases, the two will keep a wary but close distance. There may be hissing in both directions, but as long as there are no overt fights, this is really quite normal and is no need for worry.

4. Plug in a Feliway Multi-Cat (or Comfort Zone Multi-Cat) diffuser in the room. The pheromones emitted from this diffuser are not detected by people and can have a calming, soothing effect on cats, effectively lowering their anxiety.

5. Feed the two cats a small snack within sight of one another. Do not make them share a bowl, but rather put some food in two separate dishes and feed them simultaneously in the same area where they can see one another. Cats that will eat in sight of one another, are generally pretty comfortable and do not feel threatened.

A key to harmony in multicat households is having adequate resources in place for all cats. In general, there should be one more litter box than there are cats in the house. I mean, really…if Cecil is in the lou and nature calls…I like to have an option so I don’t have to wait. So, if you have two cats…three litter boxes are necessary, and they should be in three separate locations. Multiple food dishes and water bowls should be provided so the cats do not have to compete for their meals. There should also be an ample supply of toys to go around. If you find that both cats like the same toy best…get another one of the same!! Also of great importance is “vertical space.” Cats like to climb and having the ability to get up on top of objects makes them feel safe. If you want to discourage them from using your entertainment unit for this purpose, then you really do need to provide them with appropriate climbing objects like cat trees. You can get some really great ones with hiding spots and different types of scratching post materials attached. My personal favorites include areas to hang toys from.

I hope that you have found this post helpful. I really should be going now…Cecil is trying to chew a hole through one of my favorite cardboard boxes!!! If you have any questions or need advice on adding a new kitten to your home, be sure to call For Cats Only and one of the staff or doctors would be happy to help. Be sure to tell them Nigel sent you!

This is Nigel signing off! Meow!

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