The way you introduce your new pet to your other pet's is the same as when a human meets a new person and makes a good first impression. If the introduction is not done correctly and they start out on the wrong foot, it can be hard to bounce back. So, let's make sure you do this correctly!
Give your new pet their own room. Walking in the door and just opening the carrier is not how any new cat should be introduced to a new home, ever. Your new pet has been living in a rescue, and this might be their first ever home! A lot of rescue cats haven’t seen a TV, looked out a window, or even used stairs before. Then add a new family and other pets into the mix, they can get overwhelmed quickly. Set up a spare bedroom (maybe even your bedroom?!) with a litterbox, food, water and some toys as their “safe room” for the first few days. By starting with one room, they have their food, water and litter all close by, then they can get used to you and your family coming in to visit and sit with them.
After a few days, let your new cat and your other pets smell each other by cracking the door. Stand on one side of the door, and open the door just enough for the animals to smell each other, but not enough to be able to get out. Let them sniff each other and see how they react. Remember, hissing and growling are normal when introducing new animals to each other, and this should be expected.
Let your new cat out for a couple hours at a time while you are home. Once your pets are acquainted, you can let your new pet out when you’re at home. Make sure you leave the door open to their room, so they know where the food, water and litter box are. Praise good behavior, like if they smell each other without hissing or growling, and scold any slapping, hissing or growling that may occur. If hissing and growling is still happening, make sure you put your new cat back into their room when you leave for the day or go to bed at night.
When it’s time, you’ll know. You’ll notice hissing and growling have ceased, and maybe you even caught them laying together! That’s when it’s okay to leave the door open forever, and even remove the litter box, food and water from the extra room. Just make sure your new cat knows where the other litter box, food and water are located in the house!
Remember, this process may take longer depending on the temperament of the animals and the situation. For some people, it may take a few days, for some people it may take a few weeks, and sometimes it may take a few months. Be patient and trust the process. You wouldn’t get rid of your child if they were fighting with their sibling, so please don’t give up on your pet either.
How To Introduce Your New Pet To Your Other Pets
Adoption & Rescue INC.