Feline Formalities: Introducing A New Cat

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When adopting a new cat to add to an existing cat hierarchy, what is the best way to go about it? This is a question we often hear at Payson Humane Society. In many cases, it works to simply drop the cat into its new environment and let it work it out, especially if the new cat is a juvenile.

Introducing an adult cat into a home with other resident cats can take time, as much as a year, before acceptance is complete. The key to making it work is going about it slowly and patiently. Getting off on the right paw from the start will set the tone for the new relationship.

For the first week or so after a new cat is brought home, it should be kept in a separate, safe space, like a bedroom or a bathroom. The cats should be able to smell and hear each other, but not touch each other. Each cat should have its own food, water, litter box, bed, scratching post, etc. Try feeding the cats near the door that separates them so that they learn that coming together, even though they can't see each other, results in a pleasant experience. Give extra special treats, such as salmon, tuna, cheese or chicken liver, near the door. Encourage the cats to paw at a toy under the door or play "paws" under the door.

Like dogs, cats have a keen sense of smell. When they detect the scent of an "alien" cat in their domain, it sets them a bit on edge. It is recommended that a new cat and a resident cat be allowed to smell one another indirectly. This can be done by rubbing a towel on each one and letting them smell the other cat's scent from a safe distance. This way they get accustomed to each other slowly. After a few days, try switching the cats to the opposite side of the door so they can investigate each other's territory in an nonthreatening manner.

Soon it will be time to let the cats see each other through a screen door or a barely opened door. If this goes well, it may be time to let them mingle together under supervision. Bring them together after a meal on a full tummy when they are calm. Expect a little uneasiness, some normal hissy, fissy behavior. You might want to have a squirt bottle of water handy to squelch trouble. Do separate them if things go badly and start over.

It is very important to give each cat equal attention. Feed them both at the same time, give them both petting and playing time, and shower them with praise when they are being good kitties. A bit of extra attention to your resident cat can help cure potential insecurity!

We hope the following adoptable pets will tempt you to come in to our shelter at 812 S. McLane Road.

ROMEO

Romeo is a 1-year-old, neutered male pit bull terrier mix. His golden tan and white coat is clean-looking and soft to the touch.

He is a bit reserved when he first meets you, as though testing the waters, but once you have his confidence, he is a wonderful dog to work with. He walks like a show dog on leash and comes back when called.

He lives up to his lover boy name when he receives food and affection. Since he came to our shelter as a stray, we do not know what his background is, but we feel he holds promise of becoming a loyal, devoted companion.

EMILY

Emily is a precious little 4-month-old, spayed female border collie mix. She is just adorable with her soft, black coat and white trimmed paws, chest and tail tip.

Emmy will not get to be a very big dog, just the right size to put your arms around, and she is already easy to handle on leash. She has a bubbly, enthusiastic personality and enjoys scampering about in the play yard with other dogs.

She is a delight to have around and we feel she will make an ideal family pet. Hurry on in to see this sweetheart!

PUNKIN

Punkin is a graceful, 8-month-old, neutered male orange and white kitten. He is long, lanky and full of youthful curiosity.

Punkin gets along well with his kennel mates and loves to play with his toys and the other kittens. He likes to cuddle up with warm kitten buddies and snooze contentedly.

He is a handsome, loveable young feline fellow who will do best with a family with no young children.

ACE

Ace is a sleek, black, 2-year-old, neutered male cat. His yellow eyes sparkle with mystery, but as soon as you let him get close to your heart, he is warm as a summer breeze.

He is a gentle, sweet boy who loves a little attention, a warm lap and a room with a view.

MASON

Mason is a cute, 6-week-old, neutered male classic gray tabby cat. His stripes swirl around in a bulls-eye pattern on his sides, and he has white on his face and paws.

This kitten is so sweet and loving that the other kittens use him for a pillow to sleep on.

He will steal your heart faster than a mouse click!

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