There are several advantages to owning multiple pets. However, the excitement of adding a new cat to a family that already has a resident pet should be done with caution. Special care is given to each member of the household. Your new cat should be gradually and methodically introduced, using the principles of desensitization and positive reinforcement.
Moving into a new house may be a frightening and unpleasant experience for a cat. During the first few weeks, your new cat makes significant adjustments. Your kindness and empathy may go a long way toward making him feel at ease.
Here are some tips to help you get started with introducing a new cat to your household pets.
The initial impression a new cat makes when she meets your current cat is crucial. When two cats meet for the first time, their first encounter may set the tone for the rest of their relationship. Because of this, it’s ideal for keeping your current cat and new cat apart when you bring them home for the first time so that you can regulate their first encounter.
No visual or tactile contact is allowed between the cats, just the ability to hear and smell. Provide the new cat with an individual letter box, scratching post, or bed. For the cats to learn that coming together (even if they can’t see each other) leads to pleasantness, feed them near the door that divides them. Feed the cats extra-special delicacies like tuna, salmon, cheese, chicken, or liver at the entrance in addition to their normal cat food.
Change the cats’ placements after two or three days so they may explore each other’s odors. This also gives your new feline friend a chance to explore a new area of your house. Rub the cats individually using the same towel to mingle their smell. First, use the towel to massage one of the cats gently. After that, give a good massage to the other cat. Once both cats’ odors have been transferred to the towel, rub the cloth on the first cat again. Play with each of the kitties at the door after a few more days. Play with the toys beneath the door and encourage them to do so. The cats may eventually play “paws” beneath the door.
The next step is to let the cats see each other. It’s OK to introduce the cats to each other after about a week if you detect no symptoms of aggressiveness (no hissing, growling, etc.). Putting up a temporary screen door in front of the door may allow the cats to see each other more easily. It’s possible to try installing two baby gates if you can’t get a screen door to fit your needs.
After some time, the cats should be allowed to spend time together without barriers. Closely monitor these first face-to-face encounters.
You should only bring the cats together when they are calm, such as after a meal or an intense game of fetch. Prepare yourself if the cats start fighting. Allow the cats to spend increasing amounts of time together as their bond develops. If one cat is always hiding or if one cat is constantly harassing and pursuing the other, you should seek advice from an animal behaviorist.
Allow your cat to settle in for at least one or two days before introducing your dog.
Depending on your cat’s confidence, this may take a little longer to accomplish. Keep your cat and dog apart during this time. You can keep your cat segregated from your dog in a separate room. In the room where your cat lives, make sure there is food, drink, and a litter box.
Cats and dogs should be made aware of the presence of another animal in your home, even if they are kept apart. Sooth your cat with a stroke, and then let your dog sniff the scent of the palm of your hand. Bedding and blankets may also be exchanged.
It’s best to meet your cat and dog while they’re both calm and comfortable.
Keep your dog’s leash on and loose as possible while out and about. This will protect the cat while allowing the dog to know their new buddy more freely. Let your dog get to know their new roommate by sniffing around. A warning ‘swipe’ on the nose from the cat is perfectly OK, but be prepared to step in if the dog retaliates. It’s essential to keep your cool throughout the introductory session.
Let them keep interacting if things are going well. Drop the lead, but be ready to reclaim it at any moment. Reward your dog with a goodie when they come to you when you call them. Once you’ve spent a few minutes with your dog, finish the session and spend some one-on-one time with your cat in another room.
For the first several days, continue this practice twice or three times a day. You’ll be able to gently introduce your dog and cat to one other and allow them to interact freely over time. If your dog and cat aren’t getting along, separate them right away and seek professional guidance.
A cat’s natural tendency would be to eat a rabbit in the wild. But, in a situation where the requirements of both creatures are met, this may curb the behavior.
If a cat is well acquainted with a rabbit, it will be less likely to see it as prey. As with a cat, a rabbit needs to feel safe and secure to feel at ease around it. In time, they will begin to accept each other as members of the family who are just like them.
The first step of the introduction is to organize a stress-free meeting setting. Both the cat and the rabbit must be at their most comfortable and composed before they meet. There will be a lot of initial tension and restlessness for the rabbit because of the cat’s presence. Please do all you can to ensure that your pets have everything they need to be as comfortable as possible. Additionally, the location of the meeting should be peaceful and big. In order to prevent your pets from being stressed or possessive, pick a place where they may be alone to play, rest, and eat.
The rabbit must be protected and contained at all times. Before introducing the new cat, put the rabbit in its cage. For the contact to occur, keep the rabbit in a secure and comfortable location away from the cat’s potential for unexpected responses. Get a hideout, such as Snugens Topnotch Rabbit Hideout, which has enough space for your pet to move around and bounce about. You can fill it with hay, food, treats, and water to make it feel more at home.
Familiarize the pets with each other’s scents. This covers the transmission of smell from one animal to another as well as the reversal of this process. Minimize stress and negative responses to a rapid transition using this method. Gentle massage one pet’s back with a clean cloth or towel and softly touch the other animal’s back. Repeat the procedure multiple times.
The cat should roam free while the rabbit is kept in a hideout. It’s important to allow the animals to become acclimated to one other. Even though it may take some time, try to allow at least an hour of engagement with the rabbit each day. Remove the cat and try again if the rabbit seems to threaten or agitated.
You must be there at all times while your pets are bonding. Control the situation by separating the animals if you observe intolerance or nervousness in their behaviour. The rabbit’s health and well-being might be adversely affected if you try to rush things.
For the cat or dog and rabbit to get along, patience, persistence, and reasonable expectations are required. Don’t be surprised if they don’t become close friends immediately. Because of the rabbit’s disposition, you may find that he or she is authoritative and assertive while interacting with you.
Allow the relationship to progress at its own speed, and don’t stress out.
About the Author
Pet expert Anna has spent 20 years following her passion for animals as a writer and editor in the pet publishing industry. Prior to starting her career in publishing, Anna spent eight years working in veterinary hospitals where she assisted veterinarians as they treated dogs, cats, rabbits, pocket pets, reptiles, birds and one memorable lion cub. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons and miniature poodle Jäger.