If you already have one or more cats in residence and are bringing home a newbie to add to the family, you will have to proceed slowly and carefully to ensure that all cats are properly introduced.
There’s a myth that you can just bring a new cat home, turn him loose, and all will be well. Are you ever in for a surprise!
This is akin to your spouse bringing home a new roommate one day and expecting you all to get along. There’s another myth that says if the cats don’t get along, you can just let them “fight it out.”
That doesn’t work in our human culture, and it doesn’t work among cats, either. Cats have different personality types, just as people do. They need to get to know each other.
Picking Up a New Cat
Knowing how to properly pick up your cat is important. Queens hold their kittens by the scruff of the neck, but that’s not the best way for us to do it.
Kittens grow quickly, and when the cat begins to weigh more, scruffing can be darn uncomfortable.
The best way to pick up a cat is to put one hand under his chest between his front legs and use the other to support his hindquarters.
This avoids putting stress on any part of the body. There shouldn’t be any dangly parts hanging down to make your cat uncomfortable.
You need to support him the way you would support a human baby, so he’s comfortable and safe.
Once you’ve got him up, place his tummy against your chest, high enough so that he can put his front paws over your shoulder if he wants to.
Hold him close to your body for maximum security and comfort. Don’t hold him too tight but not so loose that he doesn’t feel secure. And remember that, mostly, cats don’t really like being picked up.
Kitty will often simply choose to sit near you or climb on top of you, perhaps for cuddles, perhaps for a nap. Many cats are fairly selective about human companionship; you’ve been chosen.
You’re much more likely to have cats who like each other if you take the time to do a proper introduction.
Here’s how you go about introducing the newest kitty to the rest of your feline family — whether you have one resident cat or more. Set up a new kitty’s room for comfort, as I’ve already described.
You may also want to leave a radio on a low volume to a calming music station — although some cats prefer quiet.
If you’ve brought him home in a regular carrier, not a cardboard one, you can also put that in the room, but leave it open.
He will probably want a little hidey-hole of his own. Cats enjoy small, enclosed spaces. Spend time in the room playing with the newcomer.
Be sure to spend time playing and interacting with your resident cat(s) too, who will be curious about the newcomer and will certainly be concerned about losing your attention.
The newcomer should be completely isolated, not just for behavioural reasons but in case he is harbouring something infectious.
After several days, when you know your new kitty isn’t carrying anything contagious, put towels on the floor in the areas where the resident cats and the new cat lie.
If you already have cats, you know that when you put down a towel, a cat will lie on it.
As each cat lies on its towel, it will pick up the kitty’s scent. Then exchange the towels so they each smell the other’s scent.
Do not forget her new gift!