Adding a second cat to your home can sometimes seem like a risky proposition, since cats are well-known to be territorial creatures. The After Adoption blog has offered some tips.
The author recommends keeping the cats separate for about a week. The new cat should be confined to a room for a week or more. You should give the new cat access to its own food, water, litter box, and toys. She also recommends feeding each cat on one side of the door. This will create positive smell-associations for each cat.
Next, you’ll want to swap the cats out of the room or swap out some of their toys to let them get used to each other’s smell in a non-threatening way. A few days later you can let the cats see each other at last.
Cats may still posture, growl, and hiss. This doesn’t mean that they’re going to get into a full-on cat fight. They may simply be establishing a pecking order. Bang some pots together to distract them if they do assume aggressive stances, but don’t try to physically separate them. You might get scratched!
A veterinary hospital in Tampa had some additional tips.
“Several factors need to be considered and balanced in a planned introduction; among them age, size, sexual status, and personality.
Experience matters. A stray may be competitive, territorial, and stand up for himself. An orphaned hand-raised kitten may grow up to be an easily stressed adult…The more a situation deviates from the ideal, the more the introduction process should be protracted. The period of adjustment and creation of a new routine can stretch beyond the normal 6-12 weeks. If enough factors are in conflict, the cats will become adversaries rather than friends.
If this were the ideal world, the New Cat (N-Cat) would be younger and smaller than Existing Cat (E-Cat). N-cat would be of the opposite sex (or both would be female), sexually immature or neutered. His personality would compliment that of E-cat.”
So don’t let an existing cat scare you away from a carefully considered adoption. Just give the cats plenty of time, and carefully consider an adoption that will be a good fit for the cat you already have. Plenty of dual-cat households do just fine, and yours can too!