7 Tips for Socializing Cats with Other Pets
Guest post by: Sara Bernier (Founder of BornforPets.com)
Socializing cats isn’t as easy as making a couple of introductions and sharing a smile. Instead, it requires patience and a willingness to work with your pets. Here are some of the most important tips for socializing cats with other pets in your household.
Tip #1: Be Sensible
This is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time for cats to socialize and each interaction is unique. This means becoming impatient and expecting everything to be rosy after day one is asking for too much. While you can always increase your chances of seeing results, it’s still up to the cat to determine the outcome.
As a result, you have to quickly realize being sensible is the only way to go. If you implement a phased introduction process, you’re more likely to find success. Never try to throw your pets into the metaphorical deep end because it will likely turn out bad!
Tip #2: Observe Your Cat’s Response
Cats are genetically predisposed to be territorial. This means they mark what is theirs and they let you know it too. When a cat feels like another pet is infringing on its territory, you will often see a sudden change in behavior (i.e. fighting, peeing on the floor).
The average cat doesn’t want to deal with change. This is why you have to observe your cat’s response whenever it’s moved into a house with other pets. In some cases, they will adapt nicely, but in others they will show signs of aggression.
Tip #3: Take a More Gradual Approach
Each cat has a unique personality. Some are social and others are not.
For example, a 7-year-old cat that has always lived in a single-pet family will not find it easy to socialize or share its “territory” with others. However, a young kitten can easily be removed from its litter and quickly adapt to a new setting without making a fuss.
With older cats, you have to make sure to slow down the introduction phase. It needs to be done in steps. Before meeting face-to-face, you have to separate the pets while keeping them in the same house.
This can take up to 14 days before the cat calms down.
Tip #4: Use Separate Rooms in the Beginning
This is one of the best techniques for socializing cats with other pets.
In essence, you are going to take the cat and place it inside a separate room. This room is going to have all of the cat’s essentials – food, water, litter box, toys, a quality scratching post, and a bed.
You will keep the cat in this separate room for at least 7-14 days.
At the same time, you will have the other pets eat close to the room’s door. This will allow the pets to realize no one is taking away their food or encroaching on their territory.
After 7-14 days, the cat starts to relax and the other pets become a part of the setting when they eat.
You can also use a toy during this phase. To do this, you will take a piece of string and tie it to the toy. Eventually, the pets will start tugging and pawing at the toy while being close to each other. Also, don’t forget to spend time with your new cat!
Socialization isn’t just about the other pets but also your bond with the cat. If you don’t spend enough time with them, the cat may run away from you too.
Tip #5: Let Them Get Used To Each Other’s Scents
A pet’s scent is critical when it comes to cats. This is why socialization often starts at the nose.
To socialize your cat, it’s recommended to start switching blankets between the pets and/or softly rubbing a cloth on a pet’s cheek and placing it under the cat’s food dish. Over time, the cat will find that scent comforting, which is a major plus point when it comes to socialization.
Another trick is to let the cat out (into another room) and then have your pets walk around the litter box. By doing this, your cat will get to spend time in another part of the house while your pets can spread their scent around the room. This will make it easier for the cat to adjust because it won’t feel threatened by those scents.
To see good results, it’s best to do this multiple times a day with human supervision. You can also use the doorstop trick, which means you open a dividing door, set up a doorstop, and let the pets see each other. Over time, they will get used to each other’s presence without feeling vulnerable.
Tip #6: Never Tolerate Conflict
What if your pets start fighting?
This can be stressful because the pets will make noise, fight, and potentially hurt each other. If you feel a cat is starting to crouch, spit, or growl, then it’s time to nip things in the bud right away. There’s never a good reason to tolerate aggression because it takes away from the process.
You can do this with something as simple as making a loud noise or tossing something to distract them like a pillow. It should be enough to get them to ignore each other and focus on the distraction.
Whenever you see aggressive behavior, it’s smart to separate them for at least 24 hours.
Tip #7: Use Separate Litter Boxes
When you have multiple cats at home, it’s important to start with separate litter boxes. This is a spot they will want to mark, so giving them a separate option is the way to go. It will get rid of at least one type of conflict before it ever happens.
A lot of cats use this as their “safe space,” which is key during the initial phases of socialization.
Give them this space as they work things out between each other.
These tips are going to go a long way in making sure your cat socializes with other pets and becomes a wonderful part of the family.
Will it take time to socialize your pets? Yes.
Is it impossible? No.
Just show a bit of patience, follow the tips mentioned here, and you are going to see amazing results in no time.
Are you a pet parent who has recently adopted a new furry family member? Did you find these tips helpful? I know I’ve had my own not so successful experience socializing cats with each other. Let me know in the comments. Do you have any additional tips for socializing cats?
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out more useful tips for pet owners at BornforPets.com!