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How to Introduce Cats

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Introducing new cats to a family can be the source of several behavior problems, if the new cat is not introduced properly. Slowly and carefully are the best guidelines for a gradual introduction of a new cat.

These articles will guide you step-by-step in how to introduce cats, as well as pinpoint trouble areas where things may quickly go wrong.

How to Introduce Your New Cat to the Rest of the Tribe

Photo of Angry Cat
Photo Credit: © iStockPhoto/Anna Sematkina

Gone are the good old days when we just threw a new cat in with the rest, and waited for the dust to settle. Unfortunately, the dust didn't always settle, and two or more cats became enemies, rather than friends for life.

Although sometimes cats will get along swimmingly in just a couple of hours, you should not be surprised to have a battle on your hands if you try to introduce your new cat too quickly. The time you spend on this all-important process will be saved exponentially by not having to break up conflicts every day. Also, the first couple of weeks can set the tone for the relationship for a long time to come, so "getting it right" the first time will save a lot of hassles later on.

How to Introduce Your New Dog to Your Resident Cats

Photo of a pup and a kitten
Photo Credit: © iStockPhoto / Vladimir Suponev
You surely do not want the introduction of a new dog to your cats to become a remake of "The Revenge of Kitty Galore." Just like introducing a new cat to other cats, the best way is You will have better chance of success if your dog is a puppy. A puppy who grows up with a cat is likely to see the cat as part of the pack.

Ask Amy: How to Introduce Older Cats

Picture of cat swatting at younger cat
Photo Credit: © Pat W.

Although Pat did all the right things in introducing Calypso to her resident cat, Coco, their combined tortitude quickly took over. Considerably younger, Calypso was a girl just wanting some fun, but Coco wanted no part of it. Part of the problem may have been that senior Coco had recently lost her longtime companion, Raleigh, and wasn't quite ready to meet and greet another, younger cat.

Amy Shojai, CABC pointed out that some cat introductions can take several months, and gave Pat a step-by-step blueprint for reintroducing them.

Cat-to-Cat Introductions

Newcomer Jenny Keeps an Eye out for her Nemisis, Jaspurr
Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy
Cats get their tails in a twist over anything strange, especially introducing a new feline into an established cat hierarchy. Put yourself in the cat’s paws— would you share your dinner plate, toilet, and pillow with a funny-smelling stranger off the street? Proper cat integration reduces kitty stress, prevents behavior problems, and strengthens your loving bond.

How to Introduce Cats to Toddlers

Photo of girl holding white cat
Photo Credit: © Barbara

Toddlers and cats are not always a good mix. However, you may occasionally have grandkids and other young visitors, so it's a good idea to be prepared to introduce them safely.

Being around young children can be stressful especially for fearful cats, but even confident cats may not recognize a young child as "human." Once the child begins walking and talking, yelling and squealing (in delight at sight of kitty!), the cat can feel threatened or turn defensive. Toddlers are closer to your cat's level, and move erratically, sound weird, smell funny (not like adults) so cats may think they're aliens! Proper introductions help keep your cat safe and happy, and can be the beginning of a wonderful lifetime of kitty love for the child as well.

How to Introduce Cats to Babies

Photo of a Pregnant Woman Holding a Cat
Photo Credit: © iStockPhoto/Anna Furman
How to introduce cats to babies uses some of the same techniques as cat-to-cat or cat-to-dog introductions. So if you are having a baby, congratulations! Or perhaps a grandchild will visit soon, what fun! In either event, paying attention to your resident cats and providing proper introductions will prepare you, the child, and the cat for a peaceful and even joyful time together.
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