Cats have always been solitary animals. We force them to interact with each other
Cats do not like to share, and will therefore protect their territory. Change is disliked by cats. The aforementioned character traits make it very difficult to introduce 2 cats, but not impossible.
Remember that scents are an extremely important tool for communicating with each other. With keeping the above in mind, follow the next guidelines to introduce your cats.
Keep them seperate
It is your responsibility to keep the cats safe. Introducing them in the wrong way or introducing them too early, can result in fights or other undesirable behaviour.
To allow the newcomer to get accustomed to their new surroundings, keep him in a separate room. Provide him with his own litter box, food, water, scratching post, toys and a bed for several days to a week. This will depend on your cat. Remember each cat is different and will respond differently.
You can feed the cats at each side of the door to make them familiar with each others smell. Eating is an enjoyable activity and by doing this, they will associate each others smell with something pleasant.
If any of the cats act stressed place the bowels further away from the door and gradually move closer.
Make sure you spend plenty of individual time with the old resident as well as your new kitty.
Using the scents
Every cat has their own unique scent.
Get a new cloth for each cat. Rub each cloth on a cat, several times when you interact with them.
After doing this for several days, take a plastic bag and place all the cloths inside. Shake it to ensure transferal of scents.
You can use the mixed cloth to rub over their bodies, or place the cloth underneath a feeding bowel.
Important if any cat shows any signs of distress , take a step back and restart the process.
Slow and steady wins the race
Be very patient when introducing cats. Do not rush into any introductions.
Once your cats are comfortable with scent swapping you can consider introducing them.
Always ensure there is a place to escape to. A high placed cat bed, scratch poles etc.
Cats love boxes! This simple and inexpensive tool can provide security and space for your cats. Simply put out some empty boxes of various sizes and allow the cats to explore. You may find that the cats take comfort in hiding out in these little fortresses, which can have a calming effect.
Withhold food for 2-3 hours. Place the separate bowels in the room and let them eat together. There must ALWAYS be one more bowel than cats in the household. Never withhold fresh water from your cats.
Again do not rush any interaction.
Initially after feeding seperate them. The periods of interaction can be extended, depending on their response towards each other.
If you are not at home, rather leave the new cat in his room.
Expect the unexpected
If you are really lucky your cats will just get along. This is seldom the case.
If they show any antagonistic behaviour towards each other, the whole process starts again.
A few key things to note are:
Always have one more food and water bowel than cats in the house.
Always have one more scratch pad than cats in the house.
Always have one more food litter tray than cats in the house.
Never get involved physically in a cat fight. You WILL get injured.
Always consult a veterinary behaviourist first, if you are unsure what to do, or struggles with the guidelines above.