How Can I Help My Cats Get Along With a New Cat?

Adding a new cat to the household can be hard, potentially causing tension with any current cats you have around the house. Existing cats will often need an adjustment period when a new pet enters the home, so be sure to take things slow, and allow for a gradual warming-up period.

How Should I Introduce My New Cat?

Before taking your new cat into your household, we highly recommend having a comprehensive veterinary examination performed. New cats should be evaluated for overall health, vaccine status, nutritional needs, dental health, and potential to carry disease or parasites to your existing feline friends.

After the comprehensive exam, it’s time to take your new cat home. A good way to ease into the introduction of your home is to initially separate the new cat from the existing ones, in a cordoned-off room with food, water, a litter box, a bed, and toys. This will give your existing cats time to become familiar with the new pet's odor and vocalizations. The older your current cats are, the longer an adjustment period may be needed.

After the adjustment period, you may allow your cats to interact between a slightly opened door, with perhaps a gate or a screen door between them to give both cats an added sense of security.

What Should I Expect From Their Early Interactions?

Some confrontation at first is perfectly normal. Do not force your cats to interact – instead, allow them the freedom to mingle among themselves naturally. Some growling, hissing, swatting, and hiding will be normal. Intervention may be needed if you suspect your cats may be truly attempting to injure one another. If an injury does occur, be sure to call or request an appointment with your local veterinarian right away. Most cats will eventually adjust to the new family member if given the proper adjustment time.

An Optimum Wellness Plan® Can Help

Whether for a brand new kitten or a full-grown cat, an Optimum Wellness Plan® is a one-of-a-kind package of preventive care designed to help keep your new or existing pets healthy. Plus, if you are already an Optimum Wellness Plan® member, you are eligible for a $15 discount on the membership fee for your next pet.

With unlimited hospital visits, twice-yearly comprehensive exams, early disease screening, routinely recommended vaccinations, and much more, an Optimum Wellness Plan® is a great way to stay on top of your pet’s preventive care needs.

Need More Information?

To learn more about your cat’s wellness and needs, contact your local veterinarian, browse our extensive Pet Health or Ask a Vet libraries, read up more on cat behavior, or check out some of the link provided below.

Updated October 17, 2015