Introducing a new cat to the one currently ruling the roost doesn’t have to result in flying fur. Simply keep them separated for the first few weeks (letting the new kitty explore the house when the other isn’t around) and follow these tips from Mieshelle Nagelschneider, a Portland, Ore.-based cat behaviorist and author of the new book The Cat Whisperer (Random House):
MAKE SCENTS While the cats are separated, create and maintain a “group scent” daily: Brush the resident cat, especially around the face where the “friendly” pheromones are (steer clear of the rear), then brush the new cat with the same brush, and repeat. If either is resistant, pet each using a sock or cloth, then leave it in the area where the other cat is being kept. Put treats near the socks to create a positive association with the other cat’s scent.
GET A LITTLE CLOSER After a couple of weeks, let the cats see each other in brief sessions (try putting a baby gate between them). “Don’t wait until a cat hisses or growls,” Nagelschneider says. “End viewings on a neutral note.”
HAVE A PLAY DATE When you allow the cats to finally interact, keep them from expressing fear or aggression by giving each cat toys and treats.