Zwei Katzen draußen

Getting cats used to each other

The better a match two cats are regarding their character, the easier it will be for them to get used to each other. To be on the safe side, introducing them to one another should always be undertaken with plenty of preparation, patience and care.

There are good reasons for getting a second cat

Although cats are not pack animals like lions, they are not typical loners either. But they do prefer to be alone when they go out hunting. Otherwise, they love to have someone to play and cuddle with and to chase after. This is especially true if they often have to spend time alone in the cat household. If this is the case, your cat would be delighted to have a companion by its side. The situation is similar when one of the two cats dies. The one left behind will probably feel lonely and would be glad to have a new playmate. But you should choose a suitable new family member carefully to ensure that living together is problem-free.

What is the ideal gender and age for a new cat?

If you are looking for a new companion cat for your four-legged friend, you will certainly be wondering which one you should choose. It is easiest for cat owners who have always had two cats – for example, from the same litter or two cats from a shelter who were already friends. However, with a newcomer, you should consider whether a male or female would harmonise best with your present cat, whether a young cat would be able to get used to an old one, and how good a match they would be personality-wise. Under no circumstances should you be tempted to make a spontaneous decision, or to adopt an unfamiliar cat because it urgently needs a home. It is in the best interest of both cats to first consider whether they have a good chance of harmonising with each other. After all, in the worst case scenario, you may end up having to return the new cat after just a few weeks.

Our tips:

  • Regarding the choice of gender, with two males things may get a little more aggressive. Whatever the case, it is essential that both are neutered. It is usually more harmonious with two female cats or one male and one female.
  • When it comes to age, you should take into account that a cat that is already quite old may well be unable to cope with a growing male cat. It is best if the age difference is not too extreme, however, it is perfectly possible for a young cat to move in with a fully grown adult. The older cat will then often take over the parenting.
  • When choosing a second cat, its character is of particular importance. Here, opposites do not attract, and may pose a problem. The two cats should be socially compatible and as a general rule neither overly timid nor aggressive.

How can you help a new cat to integrate?

Bringing two cats together successfully requires a little preparation. For the new cat, all the basic items it needs have to be newly purchased. This means it will need its own bowls, litter tray, bed, toys and its usual food. You should use these basic items to create a welcoming little realm for your cat in a specially designated room. It is advisable to carry your new cat directly into this room in a transport box and lock the door behind you.

Remember that the cat has not only been uprooted from its familiar surroundings, but will also immediately smell that it is in the middle of someone else’s territory. So unless it is a particularly fearless cat, it will feel intimidated at first. Open the cover of the box and step back a little. Do not try to pull the cat out and avoid any excessive attempts to lure it out. As soon as the cat is more curious than scared, it will leave the box voluntarily. Talk softly to your new cat and avoid any sudden movements. Give the cat time to thoroughly explore everything and do not let it out of the room for the moment.

There is no general rule regarding the best time to introduce the two cats to each other. If both of them are very sociable, this may even be possible on the first day. But it can, however, also take days or even weeks until the two cats accept each other and start to get along well. You should therefore trust your intuition and observe how the cats react to each other through the gap of a slightly open door. If there is any fierce hissing or an obvious indication of anxiety, then the time is not yet right. A change of territory is probably now the best solution. This will give your new cat the opportunity to explore its new home at its leisure and without being disturbed. It can also be a good idea to swap the cats’ toys or blankets so that they can thoroughly take in each other’s scents.

How long does it take for cats to get used to each other?

When you start introducing the cats to each other, it is best if you have someone to help you. This allows each person to give their full attention to one of the cats. Do not be surprised if the cats start hissing. For them, it is now all about establishing their position in the common territory. It is important that each cat always has places where it can retreat. If the new cat does not yet feel at ease, it should be able to return to its usual room at any time. You only have to intervene if there is a fight. You should then wait a little longer before you bring them together again. Otherwise, it is now time for them to get to know each other. If the two cats are on the same wavelength, it may take just a few days until it seems as if they have known each other for years. Generally, however, it takes one to two months until the new cat becomes fully integrated. But it pays to be patient, because in most cases it will not be long before neither of the cats wants to be without the other.

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