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   1. Keep Your Cats Separated At First

Even if the cat you are adopting is good with other cats, there is always the possibility of problems when introducing strangers to each other. There are several steps that you can take to reduce the likelihood of problems. Before bringing your new cat home, create a separate “territory” for her. This area should be equipped with food, water, a scratching post, a litter box, access to natural sunlight, and comfortable resting places.

This will provide your new cat with a safe place to get used to thier surroundings and enable you to control how and when your two cats meet each other. After 2-3 days, some cat experts recommend switching the cats’ locations so they can get used to each others’ smells.

Your other cats should have their own separate territory. Make certain that both areas (the space for the new cat and the space for the other cats) contain multiple hiding places so the cats can easily retreat if necessary. Large cardboard boxes with holes cut in two sides make great hiding places. The second hole allows the cat to escape if cornered by another cat. The boxes will come into play once you start allowing the cats to interact directly, but it can be helpful to introduce the boxes first, so that the cats become accustomed to using them. Keep in mind that cats like to hide in high places, so remove fragile items from shelves or block access to the shelves.

2. Cat pheromones

Here’s another way to introduce cats to each other’s scent: Cats have glands in their cheeks that produce pheromones. When your cat rubs her cheek against a wall, chair, or your leg, she produces pheromones, which are chemical substances that can help to relieve anxiety and provide information about the cat who is producing those pheromones. Exposing each cat to towels that were gently rubbed on the new cat’s cheeks may be a good way to introduce them. Some cats respond very well to a synthetic pheromone (a spray or diffuser), a product that can be bought online or in pet supply stores.

Many behaviorists advise rubbing the cats with the same towel to mix their scents. Use a clean sock to rub on the new cat’s face to capture her facial pheromones. Then, she instructs, leave the sock near the existing cat and let him investigate on his own.

3. Behind a door

Next, you can start allowing the cats closer access to each other by placing them on either side of a closed door so that they can smell each other directly. The next step is to allow them to see each other through a baby gate or a door that is propped open two inches. If the cats are interested in each other and seem comfortable, allow them to meet. Open the door to the rooms between the cats and observe them closely.

After a few more days, the next step is to play with each of the cats near the door, building up positive associations with the scent of the other cat. This play, again, helps each cat associate the other cat with a good time.

Place both cats’ dishes close to the door, on their respective sides. If one of the cats refuses to eat, you can feed her elsewhere, but still place dishes of tuna or some other tasty snack on either side of the door. By having both cats experience something positive (a meal or yummy snack) while they are nearby, they can learn to form positive associations with each other.

4. Letting the cats spend time together

If everything seems to be going well, and everyone is acting, eating and using the litter box normally, you’re doing great! The next step is to open the separating door, but keep a gate of some sort across it so they can see, smell and have contact with each other. The gate should prevent complete access. (A baby gate is perfect, but usually not high enough for cats, so you may need to stack two on top of each other.)

The next stage is to permit the cats to spend time together without a barrier between them. Supervise these initial face-to-face interactions carefully.

It’s good to bring the cats together when they are likely to be relatively calm, such as after a meal or strenuous play. Keep a squirt bottle handy in case the cats begin to fight. As the cats become more familiar with each other, allow them longer and longer periods of time together.

Litter Boxes
There should be more litter boxes than there are cats in the household. In addition to having an adequate number of boxes, place them in locations throughout the house and not in one room. If one cat feels nervous about passing through another cat’s area in order to eliminate, he may decide it’s just too stressful and could end up either eliminating on the carpet or retaining his urine until the last possible second. Either of those options aren’t good ideas. Reduce stress by making sure boxes are located in areas where each cat feels most comfortable.

Scratching Posts
Provide multiple scratching posts in the home. Marking is one of the functions of scratching and some cats may not want to share a scratching post. You may also notice that each cat has a particular preference when it comes to where, when or how they scratch. One cat may prefer horizontal scratching, one might do vertical scratching, another may like to scratch just after waking from a nap, etc. Place scratching posts in locations where the cats like to scratch and provide the type of post that will accommodate scratching preferences.

Hideaways and Beds for Cats
There might be one chair in your home that has become the favorite among the cats and there may be some bickering over who gets to sleep in it. Provide other cozy napping options to reduce disputes. Place A-frame beds, or donut beds on shelves or tucked away in corners for the cats who prefer to remain hidden while napping. Install padded window perches for the cats who like to nap in a sunny window. Observe your cats’ sleeping habits and location preferences so you can provide comfortable options for each one.

Multicat Households: Keeping the Peace
Multi-perched cat trees allow more than one cat to remain in close proximity to one another while still maintaining some degree of a pecking order. A cat tree may initially seem like an expensive investment but it will be a valuable and well-used piece of real estate inside your home. If may the most stress-free way for a couple of cats to look out of the same window. It can also be a way that a higher-ranking displays status without having to resort to aggression. When shopping for a cat tree, choose one with large perches so cats feel comfortable without having legs hanging off the end. I recommend U-shaped perches so a cat can feel his back up against something which can increase his sense of security.

Cat Playtime
Engage your cats in interactive playtime but don’t ask them to all compete for one toy or else there’s a strong probability that the game will turn from fun to intimidation. Instead, schedule individual interactive playtime with each cat each day. If you have a couple of cats who are very bonded and do play cooperatively without intimidation, then you can have them share the interactive toy as long as you’re careful to make sure each cat gets their turn.

Monitor the Relationships Between the Cats
It’s up to you to watch the body language of your cats and monitor whether there is tension brewing. Use appropriate behavior techniques to diffuse tension and prevent the situation from escalating into something hostile. Keep your cats engaged in activities that distract them from picking on each other. Use environmental enrichment to keep cats happy and satisfied. Set up puzzle feeders, rotate toys and place them in interesting locations, engage in twice-daily interactive play sessions and work on any issues before they become big problems.

Products that you can try:

Feliway is a product that contains the synthetic version of the naturally occurring facial pheromones of cats. A pheromone is a chemical marking agent excreted by cats to mark their territory and can serve as an attractant to the opposite sex. They’re what your cat is spreading whenever she rubs her cheek on you, the wall, or whatever object she’s claiming at the moment.

SENTRY Calming Collars use patented good behavior pheromone technology. Using a pheromone that mimics the one mother cats produce to calm their kittens, the collars are clinically proven to reduce or eliminate stress-related behavior such as inappropriate marking, destructive behavior, clawing and anti-social behavior.