Bringing a new cat or kitten into your home when you already have a favourite feline in residence is not something to be taken lightly. Use our expert advice to make an informed decision before attempting to add to your cat family…
Posted: 07 February 2019
For cats, their territory (your home and the surrounding environs) is everything and the arrival of a new feline will be viewed with the utmost suspicion. While humans may think their solo feline will enjoy the company of playmate, your cat is likely to have other ideas. To them, this new arrival is simply an unwelcome intruder from whom all resources – food, toys, top sleeping spots etc – must be fiercely guarded. So, is it really possible for two cats to become BFFFs (Best Feline Friends Forever)?
Before you consider taking on another cat, think long and hard about your resident cat’s personality and whether they really would benefit from a companion. Animal welfare charity Blue Cross advises: “Cats have very different social needs compared to dogs and people. Although they are capable of forming friendships with their own kind, they are unlikely to feel the need for a companion and are often happy being the only cat in the home. This is not to say that they can’t get along with other cats – as long as there is no competition for important resources such as food, litter trays or sleeping areas, then many cats can learn to accept each other peacefully and some will even form close bonds.”
Feline welfare charity International Cat Care comments: “Some cats simply do not want to live with other cats, and it is important that you are able to recognise and act on this in order to ensure the cats in your care have the best wellbeing possible.”
If you decide to go for it, make sure you’re well prepared. Give the introduction process a lot of thought to ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible. This is absolutely essential as introducing too quickly with little preparation will often lead to cats feeling threatened and scared, which will increase the chance of aggressive behaviour. And, if two cats start off on the wrong paw and decide that they are sworn enemies from the off, it can be extremely challenging to change their minds.
While a kitten might be less of a threat to a resident cat than an adult because it’s still sexually immature, a playful youngster can be stressful for an older cat who prefers the quiet life, so an adult might be a better choice. Consider your own cat’s personality and age when deciding on what sort of cat to introduce. Cats who have lived alone for many years or those who have lived with cats unsuccessfully in the past will find it harder to adapt to living with another feline.
Blue Cross advises: “All cats are individuals and you’ll have to work at the pace that they are comfortable with. It’s important not to rush things – take things slowly and carefully, and this will hopefully result in your cats living together peacefully.”
International Cat Care has these helpful guides:
How to introduce a new adult cat to your cat >>
How to introduce a new kitten to your resident cat >>
Read my body language >>
You and your cat might speak different languages, but look closer and you’ll see that your favourite feline is using their whole body to tell you how they’re feeling…
How cat friendly is your home? >>
You may have created a home that’s just perfect for you – but what does your cat think about it?
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As every cat owner knows, felines are a territorial species. They decide who is welcome into their domain and who is not. But why are they so fussed about it?
Sources: bluecross.org.uk, icc.org,uk