Introducing a new cat to your family

Introducing a new cat to your family


Before introducing cats, it is helpful to understand their natural behavior. Feral cats typically live in matrilineal, related colonies. Male cats may travel among a number of colonies. When an adult female cat enters the colony, they are typically driven away by the other cats. In other words, it is expected that a cat would show aggression when it first encounters another cat in it’s territory. It is important to look at animals who inhabit the same household as roommates and not family. Have you gotten along well with every roommate you have ever had?

Following the guidelines below can help to make introducing another cat into the household more enjoyable for everyone.


  1. Increase the number of litter boxes to n+1 (n = number of cats) and place them in easily accessible areas which cannot be blocked by other cats.
  2. Add a Feliway diffuser.
  3. Introduce cats slowly on either side of a barrier using food and play. Usually a closed door works well for this.
  4. Increase the number of hiding and resting spaces in each room where the cats will typically be found.
  5. Increase the number of feeding/watering stations to equal the number of cats and distribute them around the house.
  6. Keep the cats separated until they are showing non-aggressive interest in each other. Then, let them out to interact with supervision.
  7. Share scents by exposing each cat to the other’s scent.
  8. Let the cats explore the other’s area individually so that they can become accustomed to that cat’s scent.

These techniques can take very little time or they may take a few weeks to months to achieve. It is possible that the two cats may decide never to get along. It is your responsibility as the primary or alpha room mate to assure the safety of  your pet’s. If you are having difficulty introducing a new cat, contact your veterinarian or a board certified behaviorist for more assistance. Good Luck!