First area of introduction

This should ideally be:

  • A smaller room
  • Somewhere quieter and away from high volume of traffic
  • Not a preferred area of any animals already occupying household
  • Setup ahead of introduction to household

Method of introduction

  • Cover the carrier and take the cat/kitten straight to area without contact from other people or animals
  • Open the carrier and sit in room, allowing the cat/kitten to come out or come to you on own accord
  • Allow the cat/kitten to become completely confident in settings before taking the next step
  • Allow the cat/kitten to choose pace
  • This process can take 1 week to several months
  • If you own other animals:
    • At this point, do not allow direct contact with other animals
    • Cats – place positive reward each side of door to encourage positive interactions through door. Either hanging a toy or a new bowl with a high reward treat, different to normal food – regularly offered

Next step

  • When there are other pets in household
    • Cat’s only – can change beds between cats
    • Collect scent from each pet on different cloths by rubbing it around facial area
    • Place item in centre of the room for animals to discover themselves – DO NOT FORCE
    • If it is sniffed and ignored, this is a good sign
    • If given a wide birth to avoid, you will need to continue scent swapping until both cats ignore it – reward this behaviour
  • If residents can be confined without frustration, the cat/kitten can then be allowed to explore another room on own terms
  • Resident pet may also want to explore the newcomer’s room for short periods

Visual contact

  • Only to occur once no conflict or aggression shown through a door
  • The animals should be able to see each other with no physical contact. This can be achieved with:
  • Netting
  • Perspex
  • Crack in door
  • This should happen for short but frequent bouts
  • This should cease if ANY stress or aggression seen and go back a step

Physical access – short, supervised visit in mutual territory

  • Only proceed to this step when there is no stress or anxiety from visual contact.
  • All parties need to be as calm as possible
  • If there are any negative signs ie staring, tense posture, dilated pupils or ears on side stop situation
  • Hold up thick towel between cats to allow break in eye contact or escape
  • Use interactive toys and treat to disperse tensions
  • Increase the time together as they become settled with each other
  • Reward good and desirable behaviour
  • In case of violent action stop immediately and go back a step

Physical access – unsupervised

  • If no negative signs are shown in the previous step allow 2-3mins of unsupervised visits
  • If all is going well, increase the frequency of unsupervised visits until contact can be ongoing.
  • Between encounters, return the new animal back to its separate room

Please note:

  • This is individual for all cats and timings can vary. If done carefully, these introductions can lead to a well-integrated cat/kitten that is happy within its environment.
  • However, some cats/kittens cannot cope with sharing an environment with other pets. These individuals may be best suited to single pet dwellings.