Introducing Family Members
Cats are highly territorial creatures, and by creating a space for your new cat that’s separate from the rest of your household, you can help mitigate the likelihood of problems.
- Allow your new cat(s) a period of separation from the rest of your animal family. This will allow the cat to establish their safe territory and adjust to your home on their terms.
- If your new cat seems to be adjusting well (regularly eating, drinking water, engaging in play), it’s time to introduce their smell to your other animal family members. Cats rub their cheeks on surfaces to mark their territory with pheromones located in their cheeks. Rub a small towel against your new cat’s cheek and allow your other animal family members to smell your new cat’s scent. This will enable them to “meet” your new cat in a low-stakes setting. If you are introducing two cats, swap their litter boxes.
Next, you can allow your new cat and animal family members to smell each other by placing them on either side of a closed door. If introducing two cats, you can move their food bowls closer and closer to this closed door, until they are eating on either side of it.
After a few days, you can introduce your new cat through a baby gate or cracked door, but always be sure that you’re not forcing the meeting. Allow your new cat the freedom to retreat into their safe hiding place if they become stressed or territorial during the initial face-to-face introduction. When introducing your resident dog to your new cat, it can be a good idea to crate your dog for preliminary introductions, allowing the cat to approach at their own comfort.
Finally, when you’re ready to allow your new cat and other animals to meet, do so one at a time under careful supervision. Your new feline should always have the option to safely retreat into hiding; never force engagement among your animal pack.
A common myth is that cats are primarily surrendered to shelters for behavioral reasons. Often, guardians bring their cats to shelters because they can no longer care for the cat due to financial hardship, relocation, or the onset of allergies. Shelter cats make excellent companion animals and can be a great addition to your life. Animal Rescue Corps is proud to rescue many cats, and we know firsthand what incredible friends they make. ARC does not directly adopt out the animals we rescue. Instead, we transfer animals to our trusted placement partners located throughout the United States.
Click here to see our full list of placement partners and thank you for choosing adoption!