Whether you've been thinking about it for some time or the opportunity just suddenly arises, the issue of adopting a new pet always raises many questions when you already have a cat at home. Felines are very territorial animals and they generally don't like to see their everyday lives change dramatically. So, will your cat willingly accept the new arrival? Whether your new pet is a dog, another cat, or even a rabbit (they can get along very well with cats!), you will have to take some precautions to ensure everything goes well!
Is your cat ready?
Successfully welcoming a new pet into your home will depend on the character of the cat you already have at home. In short, if your cat is of a nervous nature, likes a calm environment and disappears as soon as you have visitors, they will undoubtedly be upset by the arrival of a new pet. Don't be fooled into thinking that the arrival of a kitten or puppy in your home will make your cat more sociable: the way they see it, their new housemate will turn their well-organised everyday life into hell!
If, on the contrary, your cat is somewhat curious and likes new experiences, they will be more likely to accept the arrival of a new companion. However, don't expect them to immediately welcome your new pet with open arms – or paws for that matter! You will need to prepare their first encounter with a lot of feline diplomacy to ensure that everything goes well.
An adjustment period will be necessary
When you bring home your newly adopted pet, don't introduce them to the cat of the house straight away. Otherwise, it’s bound to end in disaster! Start by leaving your new pet in a closed room. This way, your cat will notice a new presence, but will not feel threatened and will be able to get used to this change gradually.
Continue this adjustment phase by acclimatising your cat to the smell of your new pet: rub the latter with a soft cloth before pressing this cloth on your furniture and the walls of the rooms throughout the house. Wait a few days and introduce the two animals to each other only when you feel that your cat is calm and at ease (this can take from a few days to a few weeks...). Lastly, if your new pet is a dog, keep it on a leash at first and make sure that your cat always has an escape solution.
Create a separate space for each of your pets
Once the introductions have been made, to ensure the long-lasting cohabitation of all of your pets, you will also have to organise your home so that each of your pets has their own space. If you have adopted another cat, they will each need to have their own litter box, bowl and basket, if possible in separate places.
The same thing applies if you have adopted a dog. In this case, you will also have to be careful to protect your cat's food properly (by placing the cat’s bowl out of reach for example). You can also provide your cat with a room, or high obstacles, where they can take refuge when they need some peace and quiet. As a final precaution, make sure not to neglect your cat after the arrival of your new pet and continue to play with them and pamper them as before (if not more!). Then, all you have to do is be patient: over time, your cat should come to accept your new companion – they may even become friends!