Cats are very social pets and enjoy the company of other cats or dogs. Reasons why cat owners decide to add a new 4-legged friend vary, and introducing pets to each other usually takes from a few weeks to a few months. What alarming signs do you need to know to understand the introduction is not going smoothly?
Warning signs when introducing a new cat to resident cats
When your pets first see each other, it is normal behavior for cats to hiss, howl, growl, or posture. Cats can even fight, or there might be some spraying by the resident cat — just accept these signs of aggressive behavior during the adjustment period.
Other alarming signs indicating the process is not going smoothly include the following:
- Your new kitty continues to hide
- Your resident cat has changed their habits, does not come to their owners.
- The pet starts to groom excessively.
- The cat has changed their eating habits that means a cat under or over eats.
- Your current cats stop drinking.
- Your resident cat starts to leave territorial marks, feels unhappy and does not want to play.
- Your resident cat does not stop attacking the new kitty.
Be patient, as it may take time to establish harmony. It’s very rare that the cats won’t eventually get along, co-exist peacefully and become lifelong friends. We have heard stories from our readers of when cats got along fine from day one, while it took even six months to live peacefully in the case of other felines.
However, if you see the pets continue to exhibit their aggressive behavior, it is possible you won’t be able to integrate your fluffy balls and/or need to seek advice from your vet.
Warning signs when introducing a new cat to dogs
Some dogs live fine with cats, and others cannot tolerate felines. When introducing a kitty to your dog, pay attention to the body language of your dog, particularly:
- The dog wants to chase and capture the animal.
- The dog stays very focused on the cat.
- Your dog stares, barks, or growls.
- The pet feels nervous or uncomfortable.
- The dog does not listen to your commands or when you call his/her name.
- The dog behaves aggressively towards the kitten or cat.
- You noticed reduced playing activity in your dog.
- The dog has redirected aggression towards other animals or people in the household.
During the introductory sessions, pet owners can understand how their kitty is feeling by observing the following alarming signs:
- Cat’s ears are pinned back.
- Fluffy ball raises their back, hisses around the dog.
- The cat feels uncomfortable and behaves aggressively.
- He or she attacks a calm dog.
- The cat hisses or growls.
- Feline hides excessively.
- A new cat demonstrates anxiety related scratch marking, under or overeating.
If your kitty stops eating, drinking, using a litter box, or feeling happy, you need to seek a professional vet’s advice.
Cats rarely behave aggressively towards dogs, but some pets might be on the offensive when they meet dogs. When introducing dogs and cats, always remember that a dog can seriously harm a cat, even when he/she plays with a kitty.
If you do not rush the process, you will be successful in integrating your pets. However, if you do not see any progress, your dog will probably need training, in order to co-exist with a new member of the family.
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Introducing a new cat to a resident kitty or dog—final thoughts
Depending on the kitty’s age and temperament, most cats show warning signs when introduced to each other or other pets. The best way to prevent aggressive behavior and fights in your household is to plan the introduction process thoroughly and be patient.
Warning signs when introducing cats: FAQ
Many factors can impact how fast cats will like each other, such as a kitty’s individual personality, age, activity level, how well a pet owner plans the introduction process, etc. It might take from a few weeks to a few months to have harmony in the household.
Most cats show aggression when they first meet. To avoid stressful situations, pet owners need to plan the introduction process in detail, monitor pets’ behavior and not to rush the process. Most often, animals will learn fast how to coexist in peace.
To tell if a cat introduction is going well, cat owners should observe the cats’ body language. Signs of a positive introduction include relaxed postures, slow blinking, and mutual grooming. On the contrary, signs that your kitties do not harmonize include stiff postures, tense tails, and aggressive behavior. It’s also essential to give the cats space and time to adjust, and supervise their interactions until pets become comfortable with one another.
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