There’s nothing quite like bringing home a new cat for the first time. You may have spent months looking for the right addition to your family, and could have gone through considerable effort to make it happen. However, if you already have a cat, then you may be worried about integrating the two animals in your home.
One of the most pressing concerns animal owners have is whether their cat will run away if they bring home another. The short answer is no, as long as you take the right precautions. Keep reading to learn more.
Why Cats Run Away
There’s a common misconception out there that cats simply don’t run away. Although cats are able to come and go from home as they please, they can still run away just like any other animal might. There are many different reasons that a cat could run away. However, for the purposes of this article, let’s focus on two that relate to bringing another cat home.
First, your cat could run away because its sense of territory is out of whack. Cats are highly territorial animals that do best when they have a wide area to explore. Bringing another cat into your home could alter how your current feline feels about its territory. It may begin to feel that your home isn’t actually part of its territory anymore. That it belongs to the new cat instead. We’ll circle back to how to avoid this below.
Cats are also creatures of routine. They like calm, peaceful environments that allow them to rest and take it easy. When you bring another cat into your home, you change this environment. The chaos that can result from bringing a new animal home can frighten, annoy, or disturb your cat in another way. They may seek to escape from that chaos by running away. Again, this is another fate you can avoid by following a few simple steps.
Integrating a New Cat Into Your Home
When bringing a new cat into your home, it’s important to be very deliberate with how you proceed. This experience will cause significant anxiety for everyone in the home, including both your old and new felines. However, you can reduce the levels of anxiety permeating from your home by integrating your new cat into your home in a carefully thought out way.
Stay Home At the Beginning
The first aspect of this is only bringing home a new cat if you’re going to have ample time to spend at home. The worst thing you can do is bring home your animal and then leave for a trip. It can even make the process more stressful if you have to spend a lot of time at work each day after introducing the new cat to your home.
To avoid this fate, make sure that you aren’t away from the home too often while introducing your new cat to your old one. Your feline friends will appreciate your support and will naturally be calmer thanks to your presence. This is an easy way to reduce the risk of your old cat running away.
Follow a Strict Quarantine Process
Veterinarians recommend that new cats be quarantined for two weeks when first brought home. This is beneficial to both of your animals, because it gives them an opportunity to get used to one another when they don’t have an opportunity to fight.
- The first step to achieving a successful quarantine process is to select the right room in your home for your new animal. Some good options include your laundry room, a spare bedroom, or your office. Make sure the space you pick isn’t too large, as you don’t want to overwhelm your new kitty during their first stressful moments in your house.
- Another important part of this process is preparing the quarantine room for your new kitten. The room should have everything they need to remain comfortable for their first few weeks at home. You’ll want to include food and water bowls, a few different sleeping options, and plenty of toys.
- Some cat-owners have suggested providing two litter boxes for your new cat. They say that having one for poop and one for pee is what the animals want and can reduce the smells of dirty litter. However, this is more of a recommendation than a requirement, so don’t worry too much if you only have one litter box in the room.
- While your cats are quarantined from one another, make sure to spend time with both of them. Additionally, you may want to begin playing with one through the door that separates the cats. With luck, the other animal will join you and begin socializing with its new roommate. Doing this consistently over the course of a few weeks can make a real difference when the time to break quarantine arrives.
After two weeks have passed, your animals are ready for their first attempt at co-existing with one another. For the first day, make sure that your schedule is free so you can address issues between your animals as they arise.
Additionally, some pet owners make the mistake of asking their cats to share food and water bowls as well as litter boxes after quarantine ends. You shouldn’t do this right away. Instead, let each of the cats maintain their own items for as long as they want. You’ll know that it’s okay to get rid of the extra supplies once your cats have fully adapted with one another.
Create Opportunities for Separation
As your cats get used to one another outside of quarantine, they’re not always going to be friendly. They’re also going to need space from one another, as they’ve been used to having their areas completely to themselves. Creating opportunities for separation throughout your home solves these issues.
You can do this in a few different ways. One of the most effective methods is to purchase a cat tree. This gives your cats the option of escaping to high ground as often as they need to. This will provide them with a calm and peaceful retreat that they can visit to regain their composure after becoming anxious over the other animal.
How long does it take cats to get used to each other?
It takes an average of 8 to 12 months for 2 cats to full accept the presence of each other. Some pairs may become extremely friendly, while others may just ignore each other and live life by themselves.
When we bring home a new cat, we typically envision it bonding with our old feline. However, introducing a new animal into your house can be very stressful for your old cat. If the process isn’t handled properly, they may become so anxious that they feel the need to run away.
Following the steps outlined above makes it easier for your old cat to manage the introduction of a new animal. They’ll feel less anxious, which dramatically reduces the chances that they’ll feel the need to run away. The quarantine process gives your old animal the opportunity to get used to the idea of having a new cat in the house before they actually have to deal with the reality of it.
You have opportunities to make the transition easier on your animals before, during, and after the quarantine process. Make sure that you’re being mindful about how you bring a new feline into your home. With a little forethought and planning, your cats can become the best friends that you envisioned them becoming in no time at all.