After bringing home a cat or kitten, it is natural to discuss the idea of adding a second to the family; as a companion to the first as well as to the rest of the family. If you are serious about bringing home another cat, there are some strategies to ease the transition.
First and foremost, do not place the cats directly in to the same setting. Cats are solitary and territorial by nature and need time to adjust to changes in their environment.
Instead, set up a room that is solely for the new cat with its own litterbox, bed, food and water, scratching post and toys. It is recommended that the two cats be able to hear and smell each other but remain separated at this time.
At meal time, place the bowls of food on each side of the closed door so that the cats can associate each other’s smell with something positive (food). With each meal, slowly move the food closer to the door until they are eating directly in front of the door. Once they are eating calmly with each of their bowls right in front of the door, open the door so that they can see each other while they eat for a few seconds.
In the meantime, to further mix their smells and get them used to each other, try rubbing them both down with the same towel or taking a clean sock and rubbing it over the new cat’s face. Then let the first cat investigate the sock on his or her own.
Once the new cat is comfortable in its room, is eating and drinking, and seems relaxed, confine your first cat to a room and let the new addition explore the house. This allows the new cat to become used to the original’s scent without coming into direct contact.
The final step is to let the cats interact face-to-face; it is a good idea to have two adults present for this, one for each cat. They may completely ignore each other or hiss and walk away. That is completely normal. It can take a while for them to warm up to each other, if at all. If the cats do get into a fight, make a loud noise or throw a towel over them to create a distraction. Then lure the new cat back into its room without lifting him up. Give the cats a few days to calm down before trying again.
Continue to offer supervised interactions with lots of toys, treats and attention so they learn that good things happen when they play nice with each other. If needed, there are professional behaviourists who can help with the transition from a one cat to two cat family. Hopefully, your cats will be great companions but success is still had if they can co-exist peacefully and do their own thing.