My house is bigger than it should be for two people, one dog and one cat. It was an accident of planning and what I think of as ” beautiful view avarice”. My husband, who built it, asked me which view I would prefer when he positioned the house, the one of the mountain or the one of the canyon. Naturally, I wanted both. To get both, the main part of the house stretched longer than it should have. I can’t say I’m sorry. But when I came home from work, I would find my beloved boy, Bo, a Burmese rescue sleeping in one spot without having moved much all day. He didn’t take advantage of all the space. Like many people who worry about boredom for their cats, I thought Bo needed a buddy. Even knowing that cats are not social animals and that introducing a new cat into the house could be stressful, I pressed on.
Lucky for me, the breeder was willing to give me a male who was Bo’s grandson. Of course they had never met, so it was unlikely that they would bond to one another. Before I brought him home, we set up a guest room with food and water bowls, a litter box, a comfy bed on the guest bed, a Feliway diffuser and a cat tree. His name was Andy; he wasn’t neutered; he was two years old.
His new life started in that room. Bo knew he was there instantly, he smelled like the tomcat he was. Even if he wasn’t stinky, Bo would’ve known there was a new cat in the house despite having never laid eyes on him. Cat noses are just that good. We visited Andy every day, many times a day, just sitting with him in the same room. As time went on, he became less fearful and more likely to approach us. We kept the door closed for a week. Bo would sit outside the door or stick his paw underneath it.
After a week of going in and out, petting Andy and Bo, exchanging each of their scents, and creating a new “family scent” by mixing up all of us, we opened the door and installed a latch. The door was fixed open about 4 inches. The cats could see one another, even touch, but couldn’t be together. By now Andy had been neutered and vaccinated, all the tests done and normal. He was healthy and protected, so we could safely introduce him to Bo.
This slow introduction paid off in a peaceful and uneventful beginning for Bo and Andy and for us. Strangely, perhaps there is some genetic scent that we can’t detect, Bo and Andy became closely bonded. They can often be seen sleeping curled up, grooming each other, rubbing up against one another and “play fighting”. That will not always happen with two cats who have not known each other for as long as they can remember, but slow introductions always are required for any new member of your cat family.
If you need help with cat adoption, introduction, or problem-solving we are here at Chico Hospital for Cats to help you.