I am chronicling bringing home our new cat, Toodles. We already had two adult female cats.
Sprite, age 7, is the playful one.
So my husband and I wanted a quiet, mature female cat, who we hoped would easily integrate with our two. We described our desires in a cat to our local humane society. They recommended Toodles, an 8 year old lady, who had been a pet before being surrendered. We liked her instantly.
To select a good match for your cats see this article.
We brought Toodles home. We gave her our guest room all to herself. Keeping her separate was important. Although Toodles had all her shots, sometimes cats can get colds at shelters because new ones are coming in often. Also, throwing a new cat into the mix, without proper introductions, can cause fights. Stressed cats can hold grudges. Some even let you know by not using their litter pan.
- A litter pan. We keep one litter pan per cat. We didn't have a spare one handy. So we made a temporary pan. We placed the pan by the door. Our pans really go in the laundry room down the hall. So once we let her out it wouldn't be hard for her to find them.
I've drawn a diagram.
- Her own food and water bowls. We washed them first so they wouldn't smell like our cats. Then we positioned them opposite the room from the pan. Cats like to eat and potty in separate areas.
- Some of her old food. We would mix it in with the brand we feed our cats, a little at a time.
- A scratching post. We didn't have a spare post either. We gave Toodles an old hooked carpet mat next to her litter pan. Want to build your own? Read these how-tos.
- A vet appointment for a check up. We gave the vet all her records from the shelter.
We let Toodles have an hour alone to sniff around and relax. She spent some time under the bed, which is normal for a cat in a new place. Then I went and sat on the floor quietly and let her come to me. I spent a little while with her, at different times during the first day. I let her sniff me, gently patted her. No pressure.
My husband and I spent a couple hours bonding with our two original cats. We didn't want them to think they were being "replaced" in the family. It was important to make sure they felt loved. So we watched TV, played with toys, and had a few treats.
Next episode coming soon...