Cats are especially territorial, yet this process works for dogs and most other new pets as well. The goal is to have as easy an introduction as possible, preserving the health of the new fur family member as well as the health of all resident pets as well.
No matter where the new cat came from it must be quarantined to prevent the spread of any possible malady to your resident cats. This is vital and absolutely mandatory to follow. Any room in your home or at a friend’s home can be used. We use my sewing room, which has a large bay window, wide window sills to sit on and plenty of floor space. Before your new cat comes into your home, this room can be prepared by putting food and water dishes as well as a cat bed, toys and a litter box in place. In addition we put a bed mattress on the floor for us to sleep on. We take turns sleeping with our new cat, every other night to ensure the new cat bonds with both of us. Of great importance is to keep the door to the room closed, so no contact with our resident cats is possible. For two weeks we visit our new cat many times during the day and keep a close watch for any undesirable health development. Coming to a new home is stressful on a cat or kitten, so this time is very well spent helping it to settle in within a quiet, calm environment, become familiar with us and show any signs of health problems.
After this initial two week period, if things have gone well and no health problems arise, we put a large screen door over the room’s door and prop it in place with a heavy oak chair. A damaged screen door the size for a sliding glass door can be easily purchased from a home building store at a reduced price. Ours has a handle missing and was purchased 30 years ago for $10.00. Simply ask at the store of your choice. Once you have your screen in place the door is opened so your new cat can inter-act with your resident cats, dogs or other home pets. The safety feature of allowing them to get to know each other, and get over any hissy fits without being able to injure each other is a great advantage. This way there are no cat fights, claw damage or resulting Veterinarian bills. The screen must be kept up for two additional weeks to allow your fur family to settle down with each other. Then slowly for 1 supervised hour at a time your new cat can be allowed into your home with your other pets. Your presence is vital at this time to keep peace and reassure everyone all is OK. Using your voice in a soothing and reassuring tone helps greatly.
Since the source of Feline Infectious Paratonitis (FIP) is unknown, sanitation is absolutely necessary. In addition things like ring worm, mange and even fleas can be transmitted by the human hand between cats. Therefore always wash your hands after leaving the room where your new cat is quarantined. Using a separate litter scoop for your new cat is a requirement as well. Do everything you can not to bring any problem to your resident cats.
This method has worked wonderfully for us every time over the years so we can say it is time tested.
Now that you know the process to follow, here are the things you should NOT DO! NEVER EVER bring a new pet into your home and let it loose with all of your other pets! That is a recipe for fights, injury, the possibility of passing on disease, Veterinarian bills and emotional damage that may take years to resolve, if at all. NEVER EVER leave a new pet completely alone for days and or unsupervised during the initial month of adjustment. Always teach your children how to handle, pet, feed and respect your new pet and NEVER allow your children alone with your new pet without your supervision and direction. Children do not have the concept that their idea of “play” is injuring the pet. Going further on this topic: it must be said that most serial killers begin their horrors by abusing pets as children! Parents have a duty to be diligent with their children.
Cats do not have a good outcome if they are being beaten or abused in any way. Patience is absolutely mandated in every instance.
NEVER allow your cat outdoors for any reason unless on a leash or in a cat fenced yard. The host of outdoor dangers is limitless, especially in this day and age. Cleaning a litter box is so easy and far out weights the loss or harm to your pet!