CAT INTRODUCTIONS part 1: how to introduce two adult cats

Photo credit: Liz Langer Photography

DISCLAIMER: I absolutely cannot and will not condone introducing two cats that have not both seen a vet recently // regularly. There are many hidden illnesses in cats that can be better monitored before introducing your new cat to any resident cats. Choosing to introduce them without seeing a vet first, in my opinion, is irresponsible as a pet guardian.

PART ONE: know thy cat, know thyself.

know what you’re working with:

for the sake of this series, Bleu is my resident cat, and Gru is the new cat being introduced — okay? Both boys have very similar temperaments — Gru is 14, black and white, food motivated, really enjoys human affection. Bleu is 13, grey and white, not food motivated, and really enjoys human affection.

My goal in introducing two adult, neutered, male cats with all their claws is to make introductions the least interesting part of their day. My boys were only allowed to see each other after meals, after playtime, mostly in passing.
you don’t want to overhype interactions because that can send mixed signals to the cats, and in my experience, neutrality is the goal — not bonding.

Cats are really great at giving consent to affection, but they can’t tell you to not adopt another cat (they can through behavior, but not through explicit language) so it’s important to go at their own pace with this. If a cat seems nervous, wait another few days before allowing them to see or smell each other again. (you should be scent swapping different items like beds or blankets routinely after you’ve gotten the all clear from the vet)

I used this extra tall dog gate to separate the boys from each-other, I would place a blanket over it so they couldn’t see each-other, but being able to hear and smell each-other proved to be very helpful for them both — while protecting them if either one decided to fight.

This series was brought to life from a request via Facebook to share more about my adoption & cat introduction tips. I’m pivoting from burnout to share about this ongoing project because I think cats are really cool and I have lots of advice!

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Liz Brinks

Liz Brinks

Hey, I’m Liz Brinks (they/them) I’m a queer gender-non-conforming writer, business coach & cat-parent (@itsjuustliz everywhere) based out of Wisconsin!