September 18, 2012 @ 7:39 PM

 

Introducing a New Cat to a Dog & Cat Household

Last Saturday my husband and I rescued a new cat. I had lost my cat Moonlight back in February, he was 21 and died peacefully at home. He left a void in our lives, and I have been searching for a special male cat since March.

On Saturday we finally found him. His name is Bumble Bee, and he came from a home with other dogs, cats, children, and pigs (good to know if I ever get a pig).

I introduce new cats slowly. First I set him up in his own room with everything he needed, litter pan, water, food, scratching post, & cozy bed. I left the door closed for a day so he could have some peace, and my other pets could get used to his smell through the space under the door. I could see he was really mellow, and everyone else seemed just curious, not overstimulated or aggressive.

So the following day I left the door open with a gate up. My various other cats were in and out of that room all day, except for one, who was giving this kitten the cold shoulder. My dogs got more of a chance to sniff him through the gate & to see him. Before I knew it he came out of the room on his own & started exploring the house. I followed him (and I put my dogs in another space), to make sure no conflict broke out between the cats. The only cat put out was my Female Diamond. She hissed a bit, I interrupted it with happy talk to her and petting each cat and offering my hand to each so they could smell the other without contact. He had no reaction to her hissing other than looking at her with an expression that I could only interpret as "what's the problem, I like you". I showed him where all of the other litter boxes were in the house, and was still feeding him in his room. Of course during this process I make sure I continue to give all of my other pets equal attention.

By Monday I took down the gate, he still had access to that room, and the dogs were included in the introductions. Thank god he is the kind of cat that rather than running away from the dogs, which only induces them to give chase, he just lay down as they sniffed him. That is why I wanted a cat that was already used to dogs. I also showed him & put him up on the various cat climbing furniture I have so he knew how to get away from them if need be.

 

Monday night we decided to close the door to his room as things were going so well, and he ate upstairs with all of the rest of the cats. I always separate dogs and cats at mealtimes to avoid food stealing and conflict. Things were going great, he ate with great gusto, used the litter upstairs, and no problems at all with the other cats at mealtime.


Monday night he appeared in our bedroom with all of the rest of my furry guys, and slept in the bed with us for the first time. Diamond was the only one who didn't join us, but she didn't start any conflict either.


Tuesday all cats were on the bed with us (the dogs have beds on the floor), and Diamond and him were starting to do some gentle sniffing without any hissing from her.


It's been a little more than a week and he is fully integrated into our household. Everyone is fine, the dogs love to watch him play which he does a lot as he is just 7 months old. I have a few toys that are circular tracks with a ball inside that the cat can't remove, but can get their paws in the tracks and chase the ball around. My dogs lie on the floor watching him for hours. The other cats are joining in when he plays, so all is well.


I would have adjusted the speed of moving things along if it had not gone as well as it did, and if you add a cat or new cat to your household you can do the same. This is the method I have always used, and depending on the cat, they are out of their room in a few days, or a few weeks. I have never had cats who fight with each other, but again, I adopt cats who have been around other cats only. In the beginning if they get tense or hissy, I am there to supervise and interrupt if need be. If they are really throwing a fit over the new cat, I will remove one of them if I feel I need to, and give them a chance to see each other later. I go at the speed the animals need to adjust, and never try to hurry things along, I go with their flow.

My next article will address getting a new dog and how to introduce him to the dog or dogs you already have safely.
For now, may you have animal harmony in all of your homes.

 

Introducing a New Cat to a Dog & Cat Household

 
Last Saturday my husband and I rescued a new cat. I had lost my cat Moonlight back in February, he was 21 and died peacefully at home. He left a void in our lives, and I have been searching for a special male cat since March.
On Saturday we finally found him. His name is Bumble Bee, and he came from a home with other dogs, cats, children, and pigs (good to know if I ever get a pig).

I introduce new cats slowly. First I set him up in his own room