Cats do not like to be alone. If you are working all day, then a second cat can be purchased as a companion to play with and cuddle with so that your cat is busy and has company..
Cats that are bored get into a bunch of mischief and often trash the apartment. A second cat can prevent this. But one thing is for sure: getting cats used to each other is no easy feat, especially with older cats. It is easier with kittens that grow up together. If a young cat comes into the house with a senior, the senior could easily be overwhelmed with the romp. Here the character trait of the younger cat is crucial. To a reserved senior fits a reserved young cat. It is better to get two young cats that can romp together. Same-sex cats usually get along better than males and females. The male cat will oppress the female cat. If the queen goes into heat, there will be fresh offspring on the line. The queen must then defend them against the male and is thus exposed to enormous stress. The needs of both sexes are also different: males like to scuffle together. Female cats prefer to play with cat toys.
The character of the new cat plays a role in whether the reunion is successful. The temperament should ideally be similar to the old cat. If the temperaments are different, it can lead to quarrels among the cats and even bloody fights, because the animals feel overwhelmed. Cats that harmonize in the house also have fewer problems when outdoors. Otherwise, the first cat may view the new addition as an intruder in your territory. This can anger the cat to the point of migration.
Getting cats used to each other – Step by step
First, buy the equipment for the new cat. You will need at least the following accessories:
- separate food and water bowls
- an own litter box
- a cat bed or cat den that doubles as a retreat
- scratching facilities as a scratching board or scratching post
- own cat toys
The new cat needs a room of its own to get used to that the old-established cat is not allowed to enter. Cats can smell each other through the closed door. Therefore, place the food bowls for both cats near the door. This way, the smell of the other cat is associated with the positive experience of eating. Another way of getting to know each other by smell is to rub both cats with a towel. The smell of the other cat is perceived by the cat while rubbing. The same goes with a used cat blanket or cat toy. So both fur noses can get used to the strange smell of the other cat. After some time, put a door guard in the door frame of the new cat’s room so that you can open the door. Both cats may now sniff each other while maintaining a safe distance. Snarling and growling is normal when getting to know each other. The noises are a sign of uncertainty, not aggression. If both cats are curious about each other, then you may remove the door guard after two to three days. Now physical contact is possible. During the first contact, stay close by in any case, so that you can intervene more quickly if conflicts arise. With the now following territorial fights the cats clarify the ranking order. These look brutal, but produce serious injuries in the rarest cases. In case of doubt, you can separate both cats with a splash of water. Create a cat-friendly environment for getting to know each other by using artificial pheromones in the form of sprays or plugs. Distribute these around the room.
It takes about two months for cats to completely get used to each other and accept each other. Littermates already know each other. There is no need for a familiarization period with getting to know each other. But if the cat siblings were separated for a longer time, an acclimation must also take place here. With kittens from different litters it is important that they grow up together for an intimate friendship. In the case of cats from the shelter, you should take two cats that already got along in the shelter. For a socialization, the character traits of both cats must match. If one of your cats is deceased, then the new cat should have similar characteristics as the deceased cat. Which cats fit together?
- two males or two females
- two young kittens
- playful cats like Svanannah, Abyssinian, Norwegian Forest Cat, Ragdoll
- British Shorthair, Persian and Birman
- Siamese and Oriental Shorthair
- European Shorthair depending on the character of the cat partner
Do not, under any circumstances, neglect the first cat when the new one moves in. This is a mistake that leads to jealousy and quarrels among the cats. It is advantageous if the new cat gets another reference person from the family. Play and cuddle deliberately with the first cat, so that it does not feel set back. Provide enough separate retreats for both cats to rest, because both cats find the socialization very exhausting. The new cat should be completely acclimated before she is allowed in the garden. This will take at least four weeks, if not longer. To do this, follow our tips “Accustoming a cat to outdoor access.”
Matching cats can succeed, but it doesn’t have to. In many cases, it is decided in the first few minutes whether both cats like each other or not. Especially dominant cats do not tolerate a new cat in their territory. But there are also cats who like to live alone. Try to determine your cat’s needs in advance by observation.