How to introduce a new cat into a multi-cat home
(NC) New additions to the household can be tough – especially when it's a second (or third) feline friend. The change can impact any of your two and four-legged family members.
For cats, stress levels are increased with the presence of more established felines in the home. For owners, the first few weeks can make or break a pet adoption. To help your cat make a healthy and happy transition, Mieshelle Nagelschneider, a cat behaviourist, author, and spokesperson for Arm & Hammer Cat Litter, has created a list of tips to address commonly occurring issues:
The litter box: Make your cat's litter box as appealing as possible to encourage use. Strong survival instincts mean that cats prefer an uncovered litter box for quick getaways from predators (like other cats) in the house. Place multiple litter boxes (at least one more box than there are cats) throughout your home to avoid fighting. Don't worry if they choose to share – it's a natural part of their wild cat instincts to time-share latrine sites with their fellow felines. Most importantly, keep the litter boxes tidy. Use a litter, such as Arm & Hammer Multi-Cat Extra Strength Clumping Litter with baking soda to help eliminate odour and keep scents to a minimum.
Bonding: Cats from multi-cat households often develop a group scent by cuddling, napping, or grooming each other. Sometimes there is a social facilitator cat who passes the scent from one to another by nuzzling. If you don't have such a cat, you can take on this role by brushing your cats with the same brush to spread their scent. This group scent will help cats to bond and co-exist in a more peaceful and friendly manner.
Cat instincts: Litter boxes aren't the only things that cause tension in a multi-cat home. Provide ample food, water, perching and resting areas and cat toys. Spread the resources around the house to decrease territorial thinking and avoid hostility.
More information and tips are available at www.armandhammerpets.ca.
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