Five tips for introducing a second cat into your home

Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

Cats aren't known for friendliness, with many typically shucking sociability in favour of independence. At the same time, cats can be incredibly loyal to their owners. So how might your cat react when another feline is introduced into the household?

Like humans, cats have all kinds of personality traits - some can be bold and aggressive or shy or aloof. Introducing a second pet into any household is always a gamble but there are some things you can do to help cats navigate the road towards friendship.

Safe spaces in the house

If the two cats aren't getting along at first, make sure each has a 'safe space' in the home they can retreat to without being bothered by the other. This can be especially helpful in the first few days or weeks of introducing a second cat into the household as contact should be introduced gradually.

Distinguish between fighting and play-fighting

A bit of play-fighting between two cats who have just met one another is nothing to be worried about - it's normal for cats to chase each other and wrestle around the house (and this phase can even last as long as a few months). If the cats are hissing, claws are out, and if they're growling or crying - these are all signs of distress that should not be ignored. Try your best to break up these fights but don't get caught in the crossfire: the best way to break up a catfight is by stomping or clapping loudly.

Equal attention

Try not to play favourites when introducing a second cat. Both pets will need a little extra love, so be sure you're giving them plenty of individual attention; spend extra time playing with them separately if possible.

Separate litter boxes

Cats are territorial creatures, particularly when it comes to toilet behaviour. Introducing multiple litter boxes means they won't fight over them and each will feel he or she has an adequate amount of personal space in the house.

Give rewards for good behaviour

Positive reinforcement can go a long way - kind of like training a dog. When both cats manage to hang out successfully without any scuffles or trouble, give each one a special treat to show their good behaviour is appreciated. This could be a favourite toy or a special edible treat.

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 10 Dec 2016 13:11:34 Processing Time: 423ms