You can tell if your cats are bonded by observing the following signs:
- they are not hissing at each other
- they are rubbing against each other
- they are intertwining their tails
- they cleaning, licking and grooming each other
- they are sleeping and cuddling together
- they are romping and playing in a restrained manner and without aggressive signs
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 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, some cats will never become friends even with time.
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 since cats have diverse and unique personalities.
A good thing to do when bringing in another cat to your home is 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 and get them 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!
If there is no major aggression between the cats, these routines of eating together while in different rooms and scenting should be continued for at least a week. As mentioned earlier, patience is key and it is 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 is time for your furry baby to meet the new cat. However, be sure there is a temporary fence or a screen door between them. This will let the cats see and understand each other and to get acquainted without any actual physical contact.
Observe your cats during the first meeting. If they do not manifest aggression or bad behavior toward each other it is a good sign.
Socializing and interacting with each other
If the cats become comfortable with each other and are generally calm you may allow them to socialize and interact without the barrier. However, watch over them during the interaction. A good time for interaction would be after their meal or playtime when aggression levels are low.
Ideally, your new cat should be the younger and smaller one and of the opposite gender. Two female cats are generally a better pair as opposed to two males who tend to be highly aggressive towards each other. Also, your cats should have the same energy levels and their dispositions should be compatible.
If your furry pet is used to being the only cat in your household, a new cat may become some sort of a threat and he will adapt more slowly, more so if the new cat is a bouncy and overactive kitten. So, it is always good to consider a cat’s age and gender before taking it home and introducing to your resident kitty.
How do cats communicate with each other?
Once your two cats become accustomed to each other, they develop various means to interact and socialize.
Cats make various sounds that 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 it is 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 pets looks at each other with a relaxed blink it is a sign of 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 through allogrooming, a self-care action. This is usually characterized by licking, rubbing, and grooming each other. It is their way to relieve stress and an affectionate way to bond with each other. Allogrooming among cats establishes 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 and indicate that they have been to those places.
Body language and movement
Body movements convey a lot and the way your cat moves has a meaning attached to it. If a cat is ready for interaction she will move directly towards the other cat and a relaxed stance communicates a greeting. An agitated cat will stiffen his body and tail, his hair will stand on its ends and will he 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 the possibility that some cats will not like each other. Here is something that you can do to correct it and be able to reunite the cats 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 this will 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 in separate areas.
- Make their playing and bonding time as pleasant as possible and do not leave them together unless you’re certain that they’ll not get into a fight.
How to manage aggression between two cats?
Should your cats rough it out and get into a fighting match make sure to interrupt them immediately by clapping loudly or spraying them with water. If you have a male cat it is 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 cats by placing more perches and scratching posts to keep them busy.
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 cat.
Since cats typically do not like the taste of medicine, they 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 may cause cats to lash out at anyone or anything since they can’t get to the source of what’s bothering them.
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 heartbreaking situation. Here’s what can happen 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
- they groom themselves excessively
- 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 process. or.