Cats are creatures of habit, and they are very particular about the people they socialize with and find it extremely hard to adjust their routine. This is why you need to be very careful when introducing cats to new family members. Whether it be a whole new family, a pet dog, a new kitten, or even a baby, there are a few things you should watch out for when you introduce cats. The way you introduce cats to each of these will play a major role in determining.
Be careful about smells
One common theme that you will see running through this guide is introducing cats to the smells of new members of your family. This is because cats rely greatly on this sense to get a sense of their surroundings, and this is the first method through which they develop their opinion of others. This is why when introducing cats to new family members, we would suggest introducing the scent of the new family members a few weeks beforehand.
1. Get them used to baby sounds
Usually, a new member of your family is a baby! This is a time for great change and adjustment for everyone in your family, including your feline friends. To introduce cats to babies, there are certain steps you should take to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible. Cats are temperamental animals, and they will not find it easy to compete for your attention with others. However, when babies and cats get used to each other, they are the best of friends!
When you know a baby will come to your house, use a small sound system to play sounds of babies cooing and crying. Also, slather some baby lotion on your hands, preferably of the brand that you plan to use for your baby. This will help your cat get used to having baby smells and sounds around the house.
Moreover, introduce cats to the nursery you have prepared for your children. If there are certain places where you do not want your cat to go, such as the cot, introduce cats to these rules before the baby gets home. If you were the person who mainly looked after your cat, sees if there is anyone else in the family who can care for the cat while you are busy with the baby. This will make your feline friend feel less abandoned.
2. Be slow when introducing them to dogs
New family members can also include dogs and puppies! Introducing a cat to a dog can be a little tricky if you are new to this. The way you introduce cats to these canine members of your household will permanently impact their relationship with each other. When you introduce cats to dogs, do keep in mind that they are completely different animals.
Firstly, keep your cats and dogs in separate rooms when you bring a new dog. This will give them both a chance to get used to the smells and sounds of the other animal. Then put them in the same room, but keep the dog on a leash or behind a baby gate so that you can control it if the need arises.
When you introduce cats to your dogs in such a controlled setting, it gives them a chance to get acclimatized to each other. After doing this a few times, you can let them both stay in the same room without any extra help. However, we recommend leaving them alone only when you are perfectly satisfied that they are comfortable in each other’s presence.
3. Make a room that is safe for them
The best way to introduce cats to other family members, whether they are humans or other animals, is to create a safe room for your cat. When your cat is new to your home, make a small room, this can be a broom cupboard or small plain wardrobe that your cat can go to if it feels a bit overwhelmed by all the new people around it. This ‘room’ will allow your cat to observe everyone else and help them become more used to everyone.
4. Introduce kittens slowly as well
At times, the new member of your family can be a kitten you have adopted, or one of your other cats has given birth to. This is why one of the recurrent questions we get is introducing a kitten to a cat? The way to introduce cats to kittens is a bit different since kittens are smaller and more curious than adult cats or dogs.
You will need to ensure that your kitten does not get too close or bother your older cat too much since cats do not respond well to much attention. Since new kittens are also getting used to their surroundings, they may observe your older cat a bit too much. That is fine, as long as you ensure that the older cat is not getting too angry or agitated. If you think things are not going well, keep your younger kitten in a secure place when you are not there to directly supervise their meetings.
5. Introduce other cats at an equal footing
At times, new members of your family can be other cats as well. Now, you may be wondering how to introduce cats to each other? There are numerous multi-cat households out there, and yours can be one too if you follow our tips to introduce cats to other cats. When you get a new cat, introduce it to the one you already have in a controlled setting.
Since cats are not that open to being put on leashes, the best way is to install a baby gate around some part of your living room to create a cordoned-off area of sorts. To introduce cats, you already have two new cats, keep both felines in the closed-off area on alternate days. This will prevent both cats from feeling like they are being treated especially unfairly and make them feel treated equally.
This slow introduction will introduce cats to each other gradually and help them get used to each other. After a few days, you can leave the two cats alone as well. While your two felines may not become the greatest of friends, do not be worried. Some cats don’t mesh well with others. All you need to do is make sure they are not physically aggressive towards each other.
In all of these tips, the most important thing to understand is to understand your cat when introducing them to new family members. Cats are creatures of habit, and you need to know that they will naturally be apprehensive and pessimistic when a new member enters the household. Give them time to adjust, and all will be well. We hope that our guide to introduce cats to other animals and family members will help make these difficult times and transitions easy for you and your feline friend.