Saturday, January 27, 2018

Adding Another Kitty to Your Home

If you are considering adding another cat to your home, I highly recommend it (especially if you are rescuing or adopting).

Here are the things to consider:

First things first: Is this new addition for you or for your cat?

If you are feeling guilty about leaving your kitty home alone while you are at work, adding another cat may ease your feelings of guilt. However, most cats are pretty independent creatures. Not to mention that cats generally spend approximately 20 hours or more sleeping. .

Even if your kitty is lonely or bored while you are away, it’s likely you that he or she misses, not the company of another cat.

Sandra DeFeo, Executive Director of the Humane Society of New York has been quoted to say “You’ll usually find that with two cats, they’re leading separate but equal lives — it’s you that they adore and love,”.

Are you prepared to play matchmaker and referee?

Cats take some time to become oriented to a new home - and to a new housemate - so patience will be key. Cats are territorial; therefore, bringing a new pet into your home and just turning him or her loose is a recipe for disaster. Be careful to keep the two separated — possibly for weeks. You will want to be sure to have separate quarters (food and water bowls, litterboxes, bedding, and toys) set up for the new kitty so that the cats can be supervised with each other and separated while you are away. Just until they stop hissing at each other, getting into altercations, or stop hiding from each other. Introduce them to each other in very small doses. As soon as negative interaction begins, intervene. Step in and pick up new kitty, and return him/her to the separate quarters that you have set up ahead of time. This adjustment period could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Your consistency is essential to a smooth transition. After a couple of days of short supervised visits, try feeding them some nice treats (can be kitty treats, a pinch of tuna each, or even a pinch of catnip each) so that they begin to associate each other with a positive occurrence...time for treats!

The sex of the cats don’t matter as much as the age and temperament, but there is no surefire science behind this. I've successfully brought a senior male cat into my home of middle-aged male cats - two to be exact - and the transition process was quite easy. After hissing from the younger boys, and supervised visits of 10 - 15 minutes a couple times a day, I was able to leave them all together at night - while I was there and even while sleeping - without incident. The treating of them all while they were together really did the trick, but do treat them individually and away from each other. You don't want to create competition amongst them. Once the evenings/nights are going well and with no altercations, it should be smooth sailing from there.

Some basic tips to remember:

You need 1 litterbox per cat. At minimum. Experts recommend 1 litterbox per cat, plus an additional litterbox.

If you have your eye on a stray kitty outside, it is absolutely essential that you first make friends with outdoor kitty (providing food and water and affection - once it greets you and lets you pet him/her, it is time to make arrangements for a vet appointment). You will want to wait to make a vet appointment until such time as you have an established feeding schedule and routine with outdoor kitty. But my main point of mentioning this is that you should never bring a stray into your home until such time as your veterinarian has given the outdoor kitty a clean bill of health. There are illnesses that an outdoor cat - though seemingly healthy - can have that can be passed to your indoor kitty that can kill your indoor cat.

And last but not least - and I cannot stress this enough....Feeding treats or something really tasty to each kitty during transition is essential to success because everytime your cat smells the new cat, it will begin to associate the new kitty with food or treats or both. And that’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship.