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How to introduce a cat to...

Updated: Jul 2, 2020


Having a new home may be a source of stress and anxiety for your new cat, leading to a weakened immune system, which makes your pet more susceptible to getting sick.To reduce stress, try starting your cat off in 1 room until they become more adjusted. They may hide for the first few days, until they know they are safe.

Once they have settled and seem much more acquainted with their new surroundings, supervise exploration of the rest of the house. If your cat is very shy, it may need to start with smaller spaces. Limit the amount of action that is taking place where your pet is. Giving your pet extra attention and cat treats may help ease this.


Your cats may need some time adjusting to each other. It may take a couple days to a few weeks for your cats to build their relationship. It is important that each cat can get food, water, use the litter box, hide and rest uninterrupted. To minimize issues, we recommend the following process when introducing new cats to each other.

  1. Before getting your new cat, let your current animals explore the room where you plan to have the new cat get settled.

  2. While you are bringing your new pet home in the pet carrier, let the cats smell each other through the cage, and be sure to give all parties involved a treat.

  3. Every time you go into the new cat’s temporary room, be sure to give the new cat treats as well as the other cats when you come back out, This way they will start to associate treats with the new cat.

  4. After a few days, let them sniff each other through the door and swap the cat’s beds, toys or blankets so they become familiar with each others scent.

  5. Feed the cats close to the door on their respective sides so they associate food with each other.

  6. Prior to introducing your cats, let the new cat explore the living space while taking the older cat into the space where the new cat was staying. Of course, use reinforcements during this time.

  7. After they have met, interrupt any aggressive behavior such as hissing, stalking, or swiping) with negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement (such as treats, food, or pets will only encourage your pets to act out to receive those things.

    1. If both cats are causing problems, make a loud noise or spray with water

    2. If just one cat is causing an issue, make sure to only reinforce the cat at fault


Introducing cats and dogs requires a gradual introduction along with a lot of supervision and a calm environment. Avoid situations where your cat instinctively wants to run away so that your dog does not begin chasing and think they are playing. Here are some tips for successfully introducing your cat to your dog:

  • Teach your dog basic commands such as sit, down and stay prior to them meeting.

  • Do not let your dog be involved in the new cat’s living space exploration.

  • Keep your dog on a leash or behind a baby gate during introductions and reward them quickly after each introduction.

  • Reward both your cat and dog for positive interactions.

  • Don’t allow your dog access to the cat’s food or litter.

  • Do allow a space where your cat can escape to if needed - a high space or baby gate works.

  • NEVER leave your cat and dog alone together unsupervised unless you are confident with their interactions.

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