When introducing two cats to each other the challenge can be met with hisses and swats if done incorrectly. Usually the cat who has already been living in the home has claimed his or her territory as its own. When bringing a new feline into the equation the first cat will feel threatened and want to protect its territory just as it would in the wild. The second cat will feel out of place and afraid and feel the need to defend itself. By following a few very simple steps you can avoid many dangers associated with the challenge of introducing a new cat or kitten into your home.
First of all remember that this domain is your first cat's territory. No matter what, do not prohibit cat number one from doing anything he or she would normally do. Bring the new cat into the home in a carrier. Do not call your first cat over to check out the carrier and do not make a fuss over what is inside.
Set the carrier down on the floor and step away. Call out to your first cat and do your daily rituals such as petting, hugging or talking to your first cat.
Step away from both cats and watch as your first feline approaches the carrier to see what it holds. Let both cats sniff each other out through the cage observing what takes place. Expect to hear some hissing and growling. It is a natural instinct of both cats to defend themselves against their intruder.
If some hissing and growling begins, say "NO" calmly but firmly. If your cat turns his or her attention to you, reward the cat in some way -- whether it is a pet, rub or treat.
Allow the cat to go back to the cage. If hissing and growling continues, repeat step four. If the cat remains calmer while approaching the crate this time, reward him/her with a rub or treat. If the hissing continues, move the crate off of the floor and out of reach of the first cat.
Make a separate room for the new cat or kitten. Make sure it is not a favorite room of the first cat. Keep the new cat in this room at all times unless you are on one of the supervised visits that will be mentioned in step 7. Have a separate litter box and food and water supply in this room. This room will be your new cat's home for the next few days.
Take the new cat out for supervised visits for the next few days. Make sure you can devote full time and care for both cats during these visits. Do not fuss over the new addition during these visits. As hard as this may be, make sure you pay more attention to the first cat. This is very important because it reassures your first cat that its place is still secure.
Over time allow these visits to become more frequent and longer in duration. You will be able to see how well your cats get along together. Once they appear to be comfortable with each other, you can allow them to live in harmony.
This transition from strangers to friends generally takes about a week, but could take longer. With some cats, who are more friendly and open, it can take as little as a day or two. For other cats, especially elderly cats who are being introduced to kittens or adolescent cats, it can take a month or more. With time, patience and love you can nurture a match made in heaven.