Step 1: Controlling First Impressions
The first impression a new cat makes when she meets your resident cat is critical. If two cats display aggression during their first meeting, this may set the mood for their future relationship. For this reason, it’s best to separate your resident cat from your new cat when you first bring her home so that you can control their initial meeting.
Step 2: Letting the Cats See Each Other
After a week or so, assuming that you see no signs of aggression at the door (no hissing, growling, etc.), you can introduce the cats to each other. One method is to replace the door with a temporary screen door so that the cats can see each other. If you can’t use a screen door, you can try using two baby gates positioned in the door jam, one above the other. Ask a friend or family member to help you with the introduction. Have one cat and one person on each side of the door, and start the introduction by setting each cat down a few feet away from the screen or gates. When the cats notice each other, say their names and toss treats to them, aiming the treats behind them. Over the next few days, continue to encourage feeding, eating treats and playing near the barrier, gradually offering the cats’ meals, treats and toys closer to the screen.
Step 3: Letting the Cats Spend Time Together
The next stage is to permit the cats to spend time together without a barrier between them. Supervise these initial face-to-face interactions carefully.
If you’re bringing a new cat into a household with multiple cats, introduce each resident cat to the newcomer individually. After each of your cats has met the new cat one-on-one, you can start to allow all of the cats to mingle as a group. Your cats will be more likely to get along if they’re happy in their environment. Look at the layout of your home. Make sure there are plenty of hiding spots for your cats. Some like to sit up high, on shelves and on kitty condo perches. Frightened cats, on the other hand, tend to hide under and behind things, so make sure you provide spots at floor level as well.
Place food, water and litter boxes out in the open so your cats don’t feel trapped when they access these resources. Make sure you have a litter box for each cat, plus at least one extra.