How to Introduce a Second Cat Into the Home

The prospect of introducing a second cat into the home where there is already a well-established cat is not an easy task. The first cat will likely feel threatened and insecure when its owner welcomes a new cat into what the first cat sees as his own territory.

The second cat will not be made to feel welcome by the first cat

Cats are notoriously territorial and will act in a bad tempered way when they first catch sight of the second cat. So do not be surprised when you bring the new cat into the home, to find your normally mild, friendly first cat turning into a bully. He may hiss, growl and do all in his power to let the new cat know that he is invading his personal territory, in much the same way dogs warn off other dogs that come too close to their home. There will not be a friendly welcome. The first cat will be protecting his territory and telling the second cat in no uncertain terms to leave.

Keep the two cats separate

In order to lessen the trauma of the new cat as he settles into his new home environment, you will need to keep him apart from the first cat at first. This may not be easy, as the first cat is bound to be very curious about the new “intruder” and will try to seek out the new cat for a confrontation. An effective way to handle this situation is to keep the new cat apart from the first cat, preferably in the vicinity of the master bathroom and bedroom. Check up on the new cat periodically and see that he is not distressed. He may not be used to being shut away on his own. But hopefully, it will only be a temporary measure until the first cat gets used to the new cat. If the first cat likes to go outside for much of the day, you can use this to your advantage and let the second cat walk freely around the house until the first cat comes back home. Repeat this procedure for a few days.

Gradually introduce the cats

Cats will not take to each other straightaway, but will need time to get used to one another. The new cat will undoubtedly feel threatened by the new cat in the home. On the other hand, the new cat may want to get to know the first cat, but may not be able to do so for a few days. When a few days have elapsed, gradually bring the two cats together. Watch them as they interact together in the same room and make sure that you can remove the new cat if the first cat tries to attack the second cat. It will not be long before they can both be in the same room together without hissing and growling at one another. The longer you have had the first cat, the harder it may be for him to accept the new cat in their home. Be patient, as it will not happen overnight.

Separate beds, toys and food bowls

Try to keep each cat’s bed, toys, and food bowls separate from one another. It will make it easier for each cat to still feel that they have their own sleeping quarters, toys that are familiar to them and food bowls that are not shared. Once the cats become accustomed to one another, it may be possible for them to share, or it may not, depending on the animals. But do not force this upon the cats right away. They need to gradually get to know each other. The first cat will need to overcome his initial feelings of resentment and insecurity before he can move on and accept more changes in his life. The smaller the changes, the easier it will be to make a smoother transition from one cat to two.

Treat the cats equally

The first cat will hold a dearer spot in your heart because he has been with you longer, but that does not mean that you cannot still do your best to treat each cat equally. Reassure both cats that you care for both of them by praising them and stroking them. If one usually sits on your lap, try to encourage the other to also do so at some other time. Cats are jealous animals. If you doubt this, then watch the reaction of the one cat as you lavish attention on the other and you will see them staring at you and the other cat. They may even walk by and swat the cat sitting on your lap!

Introducing a second cat into the home is not an easy process. The first cat will not like it at first, but over time, he will begin to tolerate the second cat. They may even grow fond of one another and serve as good companions.

Liked it


User Comments
  1. Aishah

    On March 3, 2008 at 2:01 am

    Hey Soph!I found your article very stress relieving. I’m very worried about my first cat as he showed signs of jealousy like staring and biting the two kittens I recently brought home. Even his health is affected; he vomited, which is unusual. After reading your article I’m glad that it’s a normal process and that time will sort everything out. Also I’m more prepared to try my best to care for my all my cats. Wish me luck!

  2. jake

    On July 19, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks for this was so helpful. because my first cat is very territorial and the second one is so tiny i was scared they might fight and me first one might hurt my new kitten.. thanks so much heaps.

  3. preston

    On October 12, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    my dad is getting remarried soon and we will be living in my new mom’s house. she has a cat named boo that is very territorial. my cat, jade, will be living with us too. we first introduced them today and they do not get along (AT ALL) so i’m glad i found your article. thanks!

  4. Colleen

    On November 26, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    This article helped quite a bit. My normally docile Luna, who has never been affected when my neighbor’s cat wanders in to my apartment, has turned into a fierce bully. The poor kitten is appearing terrified as Luna is stalking her and growling and hissing up a storm but Luna just seems to be staking the claim of “this is mine” instead of really threatening her. I’ve never seen Luna this way but expected some of it since this was her place first.

  5. Hatoon

    On January 7, 2009 at 2:46 am

    i juss bought a year an a half cat to my4 months pearla,i was suerpried to find out how terrified the big one from th samll one lool it’s so funny.i tried to force pearla but it dsnt work,im glad to fine ur article thhnnnnxxx.

  6. Camilla

    On January 12, 2009 at 6:19 am

    You’re article makes me feel a bit better. We just introduced a 4 month old female cat to our 2 1/2yr old female cat. Our older cat has been the best cat ever, so playful and just a true sweetheart, but we work late hours and thought she could use a playmate. Now our older one will sniff noses but then hisses and growls at the new cat but no fights thankfully. It’s only been 2 days and we keep the new cat in the bathroom at night so the older can still have the house at night and when we’re not there until they adjust. I was afraid this wasn’t going to work but now I think I just need to give it more time than 2 days.

  7. zoe

    On April 24, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    this has really helped as i have had a oriental cta for 4 months now and she is 8 months old and when i brought in the new cat who is 6 weeks old my current cat hissis and growls and runs of i just hope they get along soon im just worried about leaving the new kitten in a room on its own im bit confused as to whether i leave the kitten alone at night in the other room !!

  8. florence

    On May 8, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    I have now a 6 weeks old kitten (female) who i have just brough back home (2 days). We have a 2 years old lovely very affectioned female. When I have the two cats in the living room, the first cat keeps looking for the kitten and once found just sits and stars at her. She doesn’t look agressive at all towards her, but is rather very curious and perplexe! However, the kitten gets very aggressive towards the first cat, even though she is so small and often it is eth first cat who runs away and is scared! I was expecting the reverse situation! How should I handle this!

  9. M.Holcomb

    On July 18, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    I have a 1 yr old male cat that is very loving and i just brought home 2 female kittens that are about 4 mos old. so far the male doesn’t like either one. one of the females goes crazy wanting to fight and the other one just doesn’t care. going to try the separtion thing and see if it works. WISH ME LUCK!!!

  10. Dezi

    On August 15, 2009 at 9:34 am

    I just brought home a 5 month old female kitten , and my 1year 1/2 old siamese cat seems quite upset with me. She has always been the princess of the house so now she see\’s the new cat and whenever the new cat comes to me or rubs on me her eyes dialate and she just gives me the evil eye, there has been hissing and growling but nothing more. She has tried to get closer to her when im in the other room but i think its more for curiosity?

  11. Kathy

    On March 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I had a stray cat who had 5 kittens in my shed. I gave all but one away to good homes and kept one for myself. Now one of the other kittens was returned to my house, as the new owners could not care for him well enough to keep him. Although my kitten and the other kitten are brothers from the same litter, they have been away from each other for the last 3 months. They are approx 4 to 5 months old. My baby cat is not happy at all about the new kitten coming back. he acts like he does not even know him and he is very aggressive towards him. They are both nuetered males, but my first kitten seems much more aggressive than the other kitten. My kitten chases the other down and gets on top off him and holds him down and won’t let him up until I pick him up off of the other kitten. The newcomer is very mellow and very friendly, as my kitten was before the newcomer stepped in the house. After reading your article I realize that I have been doing everything just as you said and it is not any better this week than last week. I am hoping things will change soon, because I am feeling very stressed and anxious about this situation and I know both kittens can feel my anxiety and stress. I don’t want to have to give the second kitten away again, because I feel he will be traumatised from being placed in multiple homes and he really is a great kitten. Any suggestions?

  12. rwlovett

    On March 30, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Great article, it explains everything that one may need to introduce a second cat into the home.

  13. Steve Hartman

    On September 18, 2012 at 2:25 am

    I have a cat a little under a year old. I first got it as about a four week old kitten from under a trailer. It’s mother had abandoned it and two others while two more had already died.
    Bosco is a hunter. He leaves the house in the morning and comes home to eat and go to bed. He spends nights inside on my bed.
    Bosco has been playing with several other cats from our rural neighborhood. Most are so wild they bolt when I get close; but one in particular not only plays with Bosco alot; but is very friendly, and unlike Bosco – He’s sweet as well.
    I have been thinking about adoption (giving the new kitty a home) since they know each other well, and frankly, Bosco isn’t a real people lovin’ affectionate cat.
    The things I wonder about are Bosco’s jealousy, and of course, the litter box. Do I need separate ones – one for each cat, or will they share. Bosco seems to already be dominate in the relationship, even swatting at this meek other cat at will.
    That explains about everything. Would someone like to provide some yes or no advice? I would appreciate it!

Post Comment
comments powered by Disqus