How should I go about introducing a new cat to old pets?

This could be very easy, and it could be a long, frustrating process. It depends largely on what kind of other pets you've got, how old they are, and how old the new cat is.


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Generally, you should acclimate your old pet to the smell of the new animal before they are formally introduced. Keep the new animal in a separate room for a day or so, and give it a towel or something in its bed to sleep on. You can let the old pet smell the sleeping area and the room alone to get somewhat used to the concept of a new animal. After a day or two of this, you can show the new cat to the old pet in person. Make sure both have someplace to run away to - if one of them gets aggressive, you want an escape option so there's no fighting.

If you're getting a new kitten:

If you're getting a kitten, you'll probably have an easier time of it. Most dogs will be fine with a new kitten and won't mess with it except maybe to play around - but you should supervise any interaction they have for at least a few weeks. The reason is that some dogs have hunting instincts to attack and chase smaller animals, and the kitten will be too young to jump away from the dog and too weak to withstand rough play. When you're not around, the kitten should be locked away from the dog in another room.

If it's a new kitten and an old cat, you don't have as much to worry about. Older cats will be more territorial and less likely to make friends with a new kitten - but they also aren't as likely to hurt it. If they're declawed, there's little risk of injury to the kitten. It will get swatted, learn to be wary, and the old cat will go off and sulk. If the old cat seems more aggressive or won't leave the kitten alone, then separate them and only allow them around each other when you're there to supervise. Kittens grow pretty fast so it should be big enough to fend for itself or hide pretty soon - and generally cats will learn to at least tolerate each other.

One other thing to remember is that when the old cat or dog is in the room with the kitten, focus your love and attention on them. They'll act just like children - jealous of the newcomer and angry you're not paying attention to them. So show them the kitten isn't a threat to your affection.

If you're getting an older cat as the new pet:

If this is your situation, then it's going to mainly be about avoiding fights for the first week or so. Older cats will not have as much of a problem with dogs. They'll probably be afraid, they might swat them, but they aren't usually going to seek out a fight. As with above, it's the dog's instincts you've got to watch for. If you're introducing two older cats to each other, then there will likely be hissing and yowling. The cat you already have in your home will want to defend its territory. Try to solve this by giving them each separate parts of the house to live in for awhile - the spats are going to be about who gets what space, so each cat should have separate litter, food, and bedding in a different room where they can hole up and ignore each other. They will gradually get to know each other and it won't be as much of a problem. Just control the interaction at first, make sure it's limited and gradually get to the point where they can both wander around the house at will.

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