The clock has just struck 1:00 a.m. and I am as usual glued to my laptop preparing for the morning presentation. Molly- my Ragdoll- is still awake roaming restlessly. I know she needs my time and company but for the last two months, she has been badly ignored. Now I am planning to get a companion for her. But “Am I Ready For This New Addition?” Or to be more discreet, “Will My Sweet Purring Princess Accept This Change?” These questions commonly haunt cat lovers time and again.
A good understanding of feline society is a must before opting for a multi-cat household. Cats being solitary and highly territorial creatures are less welcoming to change. They take time to adjust with changes in their lifestyle and surroundings. For a peaceful co-existence, you must weigh all the pros and cons of introducing a newcomer. A harmonious cohabitation between a kitten and an adult takes around 2-4 weeks whereas adult integration takes longer estimating around 4-6 weeks.
Though challenging, but it is always a wonderful idea to add a fur baby to your family. You get a snuggle buddy for yourself and your first cat gets a playmate. A research conducted in Switzerland shows that your old cat that is established as the only pet in the house, is likely to be more welcoming towards a kitten or a younger cat. Similarly, if your choice is another adult, then the catch here is to go for the opposite sexes. No matter what your choice is, in order to introduce a seamless transition into your pet domain, do make the following considerations:
Your Financial Pocket:
Finances materialize wishes. Be honest and realistic with your financial affordability for a second cat. Food and litter costs are just regular expenses. Along with them are the regular vet bills, vaccines and of course not to ignore the contingency cost.
Your Time and Presence:
Cats display a high degree of independence and this personality trait makes them the best-suited pets for the people with a busy lifestyle. But it does not mean that they never demand love, attention, and care. Cats need your time and attention. They want to be loved and cuddled. Therefore, adding up into your cat fraternity also means doubling your pet time. Your second cat will also like to share your time and you have to make sure that this extra time does not come at the expense of your other feline.
You have been with your furball since long but of course, you cannot sit down and share your thoughts with your cat about your desire to make a new addition in the feline family. You need to observe her/his behavior in order to determine how your cat will respond to sharing the space with the new entrant. It is very much likely that jealousy may develop resulting in hostile behavior towards each other. Your cat might be very affectionate with other neighboring cats but this does not guarantee that the same level of acceptance will be given to the new housemate. This risk can be further worked out by inviting your friend with a kitty to spend a couple of hours at your place to see how well your cat interacts and responds.
Once you have made up your mind to opt for a multi-cat house, take the best possible measures to make it a hassle-free journey. The right decision at the right time increases your chances of enjoying snuggly friends sharing their warmth and love. Make your house well equipped to welcome the new feline member thus offering them both separate but equal lives.
For your four-legged kid, the sanctity of personal space is of utmost importance. Don’t let the new entrant intrude the personal space of your old cat. Ensure that they have enough floor space without messing up with each other along with the vertical space may be on window sills or shelves. Cats also need spots for hiding to spend some of the undisturbed moments. So your residing place should be customized well as a multi-cat house. Initially confine your new cat to one room for a couple of days introducing gradual interaction with the old resident.
For the first few days, feed them on the opposite sides of the same door. The purpose is to introduce them to the pleasurable activity of eating. In this way every time your cat smells the new cat, it associates that with food thus kicking off a beautiful friendship. Gradually bring their bowls closer because cats enjoy congregating meals. A good option here is to consider serving food inside cat crates after few days of association. A timid cat might take long and you must make arrangements for putting rations in a secluded area until an amicable association is developed.
Gradually let the new cat explore the house. In this way, the cats get an opportunity to become accustomed to each other’s scent without direct contact. You can also exchange their bedding for this purpose. Provide plenty of scratching spots and toys so your fur-balls enjoy a happy household.
Make their initial encounters minimal to ward off any aggressive or fearful behavior in the beginning. Don’t let them come closer physically to avoid any physical attack. Never make your old cat a second priority because this attitude hurts your old companion and might make him/her revengeful towards your new furry buddy.
Double the whiskers mean double the cost of food and litter. This might hold you back from adding up to your fur babies. Cats need privacy while eliminating. Multiple litter boxes should be provided so that they can feel safe. Ideally, there should be one litter box for each cat along with one extra. And in a multi-story house, the same rule applies for each floor. For your ease, multiple litters and waste disposal options are available ranging from manual sieving systems with clumping litter, to fully automatic options such as the amazing Litter Robot. Choose the right product based on your affordability and requirements to keep your cat toileting system well managed for more than 1 cat.
The introduction of a new cat is challenging but after a couple of days of hisses and growls, you will get the chance to see the two snuggly friends chasing each other.