Have you noticed some unusual behavior from your pet cat lately? If you see her scratching more often than usual, excessively sleeping, or if you observe a decrease or increase in her appetite, then you should be cautious. These are just some of the tell-tale signs of a bored feline. Cats usually become bored if there’s little mental or physical stimulation. However, it shouldn’t be too alarming. Here’s one solution you can do: adopt a new cat so she can have a companion.
Pros and cons of having another cat
Here are just some of the benefits as well as the downside of having another cat in your household:
- it reduces boredom and anxiety
- cats will entertain and socialize with each other
- twice the fun and affection
- it entails more expenses ( food, toys, vet visits )
- a greater degree of responsibility
- the cats’ personalities may not match
How to introduce your cat to a new cat?
Bringing a new cat home may require some changes but this is to be expected. An important thing to remember: introducing cats requires a lot of planning and perfect timing. Patience is key and it pays to take things slowly but surely since cats have diverse and unique personalities.
A good thing to do when bringing in another cat to your home would be to use calming spray like Feliway or Thunderease. Another step would be to spay or neuter the cats to avoid resistance or aggression towards each other.
Before the first meeting
For cats, first impressions do seem to last, so you have to see to it that the first meeting won’t start with aggression. To avoid this from happening, don’t let the two cats see each other face-to-face just yet. Separate the new cat from your pet by putting it in another room. This will allow both of them to hear and smell each other without actually seeing or having physical contact with each other.
Assign a particular room or place for the new cat as its so-called “territory” and provide the essentials like food and water bowl, litter box, bed, and her own scratching post. Position feeding time in a way that both cats are near each other but separated by a door or a partition. This is meant to habituate them both and get used to doing something together, such as eating their meals, even though not actually seeing each other. Let the two cats switch places in the next few days to allow them to study and get used to each other’s scent. It will also give the new cat the chance to explore her new home.
Your cats must be acquainted with each other through their unique smell. After all, cats are all about scents and they use their sense of smell to identify people and things. As a pet parent, what you can do to familiarize each one with their smell is to pet your furry kitty, then without washing your hands, proceed to pet the new cat so their smells get transferred to one another.
Here are some amazing facts about a cat’s sense of smell:
- Cats have more than 200 million odor sensors in their noses.
- Their sense of smell is 14 times better than the human sense of smell.
- Unfamiliar scents on their human friends can upset cats big time!
Considering there’s no major aggression between the 2 cats, these routines of eating together while in different rooms and scent-ing is expected to last for at least a week. As earlier mentioned, patience is key and it’s best to allow ample time for the two cats to get used to each other even before the actual meeting.
The first meeting
Once you feel that both cats have gotten used to each other from a distance then it’s time for your furry baby to meet the new cat. However, be sure there’s a temporary fence or a screen door between them. This will let the 2 cats see and understand each other and also get acquainted without any actual physical contact.
Be sure to closely observe your 2 cats during the first meeting. If they didn’t manifest any aggression and bad behavior toward each other then it’s a good sign.
Socializing and interacting with each other
If the cats become comfortable with each other and are generally calm then you may allow them to socialize and interact without the barrier or screen door. However, make sure you’re there to closely watch over them during the interaction lest they may start becoming aggressive. A good time for interaction would be after their meal or playtime when aggression levels are low.
Ideally, your new cat should be a younger and smaller one and of the opposite gender. Two female cats are generally a better pair as opposed to two males who may tend to be highly aggressive towards each other. Also, your 2 cats should have the same energy levels and their dispositions should be compatible. If your furry pet has been so used to being the only cat in your household, a new cat may become some sort of a threat and will adapt more slowly, more so if it’s a bouncy and overactive kitten. So, it’s always good to consider a cat’s age and gender before taking it home and introducing to your resident kitty.
How long does it take for cats to bond?
There is no clear-cut time frame to determine how long it takes for cats to bond. This will largely depend on their personalities if they’re the right match and on the manner with which they were introduced. For some cats, it will only take days for them to like each other while for some, it usually takes weeks and even months or years. While some cats will eventually learn to tolerate each other there will be those who will always be fighting. Unfortunately though, some cats will never become friends even with time.
How to tell if cats are bonded and like each other?
If your resident pet and the new cat manifest these signs, then you’re one very lucky pet parent! This means that they have established a bond towards each other.
- they’re not hissing at each other
- they’re rubbing each other’s body
- intertwining their tails
- cleaning, licking and grooming each other
- sleeping and cuddling together
- romping and playing in a restrained manner and without breaking things around
How do cats communicate with each other?
Once your two cats become accustomed to each other, they develop various means to interact and socialize. These are how they communicate with each other.
Cats make various sounds and all have a corresponding meaning. If your cat is growling, hissing, and spitting, it means they’re showing aggression. Shrieking usually means an escalated aggressive behavior. Meowing means they want to gain your attention and their way of saying hello while purring corresponds to showing affectionate comfort or self-comfort.
Your furry friends also communicate using their eyes and an intense stare most likely means aggression and hostility while an earnest tracking stare suggests a hunting and predatory behavior. If your pet looks at each other with a relaxed blink it’s communicating trust or affection. If their eyes are half-closed it’s because they feel relaxed while a wide-eyed look conveys awareness.
Physical touch communication
Cats have a unique way to communicate with each other and even with humans through physical touch and this is through allogrooming, a self-care action.This is usually characterized by licking, rubbing, and, grooming each other. It’s their way to relieve stress and an affectionate way to bond with each other. Allogrooming among cats is meant to establish relationships as well as hierarchies.
Felines are very particular when it comes to marking territory which they do by rubbing scent glands on objects. They communicate territory boundaries through urine marking, which is a way to decrease interaction among aggressive unneutered cats. They also rub their chins, paws and cheeks on objects around the house to spread their scent glands and indicate that they’ve been to those places.
Body language and movement
Body movements convey a lot and how your pet cat moves has a corresponding meaning. If a cat is ready for an interaction she will move directly towards the other cat and if it’s a relaxed stance it’s communicating a greeting. An agitated cat will stiffen his body and tail, his hair will stand on its ends, and will straighten his legs. Moreover, an aggressive or angry posture is characterized by dilated pupils and ears back flat against the head.
How to get cats to like each other?
Let’s admit it, sometimes what will happen isn’t always the outcome that we want it to be. There will always be a probability that some cats won’t like each other. Here’s something that you can do to correct it and be able to reunite the 2 cats again in a more agreeable perspective.
- Be sure to give each cat lots of attention.
- Consider neutering or spaying your cats to lessen aggression.
- Catnip can heighten aggression for some cats so avoid giving it to your cats.
- Always have Feliway or similar calming spray on hand to prevent stress and fighting among your cats.
- Place plenty of their favorite toys so your cats will be busy playing and it will also distract them from fighting.
- Ensure that each cat has plenty of separate space and always put their litter boxes, food and water bowls, and beds separately.
- Make their playing and bonding time as pleasant as possible and don’t leave them together unless you’re certain that they’ll not get into a fight.
How to manage aggression between two cats?
Should your 2 cats rough it out and get into a fighting match make sure to interrupt them immediately by clapping loudly and spraying them with a spray bottle squirt. If you have a male cat it’s best to neuter them to lessen their tendency to become aggressive. Give them their meals separately and from a safe distance from each other. You can also discourage fighting among your 2 cats by placing more perches and scratching posts to keep them busy and avoid violent fights.
Are cats affected by other cats’ moods?
Cats are generally affected by the moods of other cats. This means that if one of your cats is experiencing mood changes, pain or stress, defensive aggression may take place and affect the other cat as well. One example is when administering medication to your pet cat.
Since cats typically don’t like the taste of medicine, she will usually make upset sounds and growl consistently. The other cat, upon hearing these sounds will approach the upset cat and seeing the other pet in that stressful situation may be enough to trigger the latter to also start growling and hissing.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), redirected aggression among cats is menacing. This is because cats may lash out at anyone or anything since it can’t get to the source of what’s bothering it. With the two cats in this situation, the upset one is held down because she has to take her pills while the second kitty is helpless and all she knows is the other cat is upset.
What happens if bonded cats are separated?
Cats that are bonded are inseparable friends and buddies. They do almost everything together and feel very comfortable in each other’s company. So, if they should ever be separated it can be a very heartbreaking situation. Here’s what happens when bonded cats are separated from each other:
- they become clingy
- they become depressed
- they refuse to eat
- they lose confidence
- they become bored and anxious
- they tend to meow loudly and constantly seek attention
- extremely grooming themselves
- they become unhealthy and inactive
- they scratch and chew things excessively
Having a new pet addition to your household means a lot of adjustment and patience, not only for your resident pet, but for you as well. Getting them to know each other well, becoming comfortable in each other’s company, and letting them bond are essential parts of the whole experience. Most of all, it’s imperative that you give them ample attention, time, and effort to let them know that they’re both loved and cared for.