The following success story was shared with us by one of our valued clients. If you are contemplating introducing a new cat into a home with existing cat(s), read on!
I was the proud cat mama of three truly amazing, very bonded cats. Two of them where so very close, they groomed one other, slept together and played with each other. Sadly, one of them passed away from a hereditary defect that had affected him for his short life. His death affected me greatly and I was sure I would never be ready to bring another cat into my home. I missed him terribly but after six months, the cloud of sadness began to lift, enough for me to see how much my younger cat was also missing her play mate and best friend. I spent a lot of time with her but it wasn’t the same as having another cat to play with.
So my search for a new fur baby began. I went to see a kitten who I thought would be an awesome friend for my cat, but while I was there another kitten approached me, climbed in my lap and fell asleep. My heart was filled with love, she was so peaceful. If I adopted two kittens, my cat would never be without a playmate again! So yes, I adopted them both. I was so excited to bring them home and was filled with joy that my cat would have a play mate again.
At home I had set up a room for them to live in whilst they became adjusted to their new surroundings and so that my two existing cats could get used to the new additions to the family. Instantly, my older cat accepted the twins and wanted to groom them and be with them as they ate, played and slept. She seemed to teach them respect and they soon learned that biting or rough play with her was unacceptable. For that she seemed to love them even more.
My other cat, which is 3 years old, was a whole different story. She growled, hissed and raised her hackles as she walked by the room they were staying in! She would hiss and ‘hit’ myself and the older cat after we had spent time with the twins. I took some of the kittens bedding and tried to introduce her to their smell by giving her treats next to the blanket, but she was so upset and on edge she wouldn’t eat. I tried herbal anti-anxiety tablets, pheromone sprays, showering her with attention and her favorite foods. Two weeks had passed and nothing seemed to be working. I wondered if I had made a mistake and would need to find another home for the twins.
When the twins were due for their vaccinations I took my 3 years old along for the appointment also so that they didn’t come home smelling different again and risk losing any progress we may have made. Dr. Kerr recommended some chews called Composure which is a calming supplement designed to promote relaxation in stressful situations. She only needed one chew a day and after her second treat she was noticeably different. Honestly, I was shocked! The hissing and growling was reduced and after day three it had stopped altogether and she was prepared to be in the same room as them. A huge difference and a great leap forward towards contentment and a happy home. I was so thankful, I loved them all so very much and had been so anxious myself since bringing them home, but now I could see there was hope. I never left her unsupervised with the twins, she would still hiss and whack them if they came too close to her and I was conscious of keeping everyone safe.
After a week of using the Composure treats my 3 year old would eat treats off the kittens bedding. She still maintained her boundary when they were around and I could see that when the kittens ran past her in play she was anxious and a little scared, not knowing what to do, but I reassured her and petted her to calm her down. Being consistent was a must! She chose when she was around them and when she needed space, she had her limits and I respected that.
I continued to supervise their time together, reassure my 3 year old and give treats when she approached the twins or their bed without hissing or growling. By week five the twins were letting me know they needed to be released from their safe room, but this meant unsupervised time between the twins and the 3 year old. This caused my anxiety levels to rise again and I was afraid to go to sleep at first, worried about the twins being safe. I was nervous of them having free run of the house, yet they proved me to be an over protective mama and that they could look after themselves.
Over that week my 3 year old began to accept the twins, grooming them and even choosing to sleep near them. The twins are very smart and learnt respect quickly; I’m such a proud cat mama! They are starting to play together, albeit cautiously, but the potential is there and I am certain that the trust and bond between them is only a small step away.
The reason I tell you my story is that no two cat introduction stories are the same. No two cats are the same and not everything works for all cats. There are many tools and methods available to help and tons of advice when you ask for it. If you choose to adopt a new cat, of any age, have a least a couple of tools such as Feliway and Composure treat ready, especially if you already have other pets at home. Have a safe place for your new cat whilst everyone gets used to each other. Read up on introducing cats or even better, talk to your vet about it before you bring the cat home, you will be so glad that you did! I have endless respect for Dr. Kerr; she is an angel for all fur babies.
Is there a time frame for cats to bond or a perfect way to introduce them? Nope! Are there better ways for your cats? Yes! Will all cats bond 100% of the time? Personally, I don’t think so, so do your homework first before adopting, be patient, be calm and be consistent! Be ready to figure out quickly what is the right way for your cats, in my experience some bond instantly whilst others can take months. It often felt like we were taking two steps forward and 5 steps backward when in honesty, it was just little steps each day.
So please, please, do your homework in regards to knowledge before adopting more fur babies, it will be worth it in the end. Also remember to have fun! Once they are bonded, they are bonded forever and it is so very worth the time and effort.
Thank you for reading my story! If you wish to reach out to me and ask questions, please do so, I have a Facebook page called Gentle Hands. Have an awesome day!!