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Westport Pet Owners: How to Introduce a New Cat to Your Home

Introducing a New Cat to Your HomeSo you’ve gone and done it. You went out and adopted a brand new kitten or cat to add to your growing menagerie of pets. Whether you have cats, dogs or other types of pets in your home, the initial introduction of a new cat into your home is very important. It might be a simple situation that doesn’t require any separation or concern, but some pets may not be as accepting of a new furry sibling as others. If introducing a new cat to another cat or cats, you will want to take some advice from others who have already traveled down this path.

Many cats will not want to share you, their food, their water, their beds and toys with another cat. In fact, studies show that it can sometimes be easier to introduce a new cat to a dog than a new cat to another cat. Some breeds are more likely to be accepting than others, including the Maine Coon, Persian and Ragdoll.

Visit your South Coast veterinarian at our local Dartmouth animal hospital to get a complete check-up and vaccinations for your new cat before bringing him or her home. Westport pet owners can ask for introduction advice at this time, relating information about existing pets to determine the best course of action. Vaccinations are important for the new pet, the safety of the existing pets, and also the people living in the home. Real threats, such as rabies, cat scratch fever, feline immunodeficiency virus and parasites, such as fleas or ticks, must be dealt with head-on before bringing the new cat home.

Generational Gaps
Just like with people, cats of different ages may not get along as well as cats of similar ages. Kittens can be annoying to older cats, bouncing around with all of that energy when the older cat just wants to nap in the sun. Regardless of the genders, it is important to ensure that both cats are spayed or neutered to ensure there won’t be any gender-based dominance or problems down the road. Opposite genders are ideal, as long as everyone has been fixed, however if you want cats of the same sex, two females will be friendly better than two males.

It can be hard for an older cat who has been the “only fur child” for its whole life to accept anything new. Unfortunately, the older cat may resent the new cat and even its owner, if his life is disrupted too much by the newcomer. Cats that have come from stressful situations, such as a rescue situation or being adopted from the animal shelter, may also have difficulty adapting to change. This includes both the new cat and the existing cat, who may feel threatened by a new cat coming into his home. It is important to take all of these things into consideration before adopting a new pet of any type.

A Careful Introduction
Regardless of the situation, it is always best to make a careful first introduction. At their first meeting, your cats may hiss or growl at each other to express warnings or to show that they are unhappy with each other. It is important that you never just bring a new cat into your home, put them together in a room, and hope that it sorts itself out. Without an intervention by you, your cats would likely fight it out, resulting in a trip the to Dartmouth animal hospital emergency room. In addition, the existing cat will likely mark your walls and floors to show dominance, as well as possibly destroy furniture and other belongings.

Put the cats in separate rooms. Westport pet owners should provide each cat with their own litter box in a separate area, provide each cat with their own food and water dishes, beds, bedding, toys and scratching posts. This will help them to establish their own space apart from each other. Share the scent of each cat with the other cat via a washcloth or other type of fabric that you can rub on their fur. Put the scented objects next to the cat’s feeding area and when you do decide to make that initial introduction, make sure to supervise it carefully to help the relationship to develop positively.

Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth
If you are thinking about adopting a new pet or if you have pets that need to be seen by a qualified South Coast veterinarian, give us a call at 508-996-3731. We can help you evaluate your new pet, provide you with a complete examination and vaccinations, as well as offer tips that can help you introduce your new pet into your home. Rabies, feline leukemia, cat scratch fever and other illnesses can be a real problem with new pets. Westport pet owners and pet owners throughout the Southeastern Massachusetts area have trusted our Dartmouth animal hospital since 1975 for veterinary care.