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two cats standing next to each other and looking up and to the side

Introducing Two Cats: Do's and Don'ts

Bringing home a second cat? Your first cat may not take too kindly to what it will deem a territorial invasion. Expect the introduction to be a challenge. To make it go as smoothly and safely as possible, here are some tips.

Do:

  • Take your time. It is totally normal to spend multiple days on each stage of an introduction.
  • Introduce one sense at a time. If possible, let cats smell each other before you let them see each other, and do it for a while. Keep them in separate rooms to start, but exchange items between them or let them explore each others’ spaces privately.
  • Use positive reinforcement. Get cats to associate positive things with being near each other, like food, play, attention and praise.
  • Keep a towel handy. Sometimes cats may get too aggressive when they are finally brought into the same room. Throwing a towel to distract them can break up a fight before it becomes violent.

Don’t:

  • Rush the process. It can take weeks for cats to start getting used to each other, and months for them to become comfortable.
  • Punish your cats. Negative reinforcement will not help them learn; it will only get them more agitated and aggressive with you and with each other.
  • Panic. Some clawing and hissing is normal, and not necessarily a sign of imminent danger.
  • Give up too fast. If you screwed up the introduction the first time, you can separate your kitties and try again more slowly.

While you are introducing your cats, be sure to stock up on Pet Essentials. We carry cat beds, food bowls, scratching posts and more.

Good luck, and be patient—hopefully before long, your kitties will become friends.

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