It's now been almost two months that Praline is home! Introducing a new cat when you already have a resident cat can be really challenging. I got a lot of questions on how I did it with Praline to Néline, so I will summarize here how we introduced them to each other and I will present some of the tips that we used.
If you have any questions about Praline, check out my previous article: Praline our new family member
Keep in mind that this is not a proper guide on how to introduce a new cat: it’s rather an explanation of what we did when we got Praline. In fact, introducing a new cat is always something unique, as it will mainly depend on the characters of the cats involved.
Praline arrived home when she was 4 months old, on the 1st of June. We arrived back home in the evening at around 8 pm after picking her up at the breeder. Before bringing her home we prepared our bedroom with a bowl of water, a litter box, some toys, and a cat bed.
When we arrived home we put her in the bedroom, while making sure that she and Néline didn't have any contact, even visual.
We put Praline in the bedroom and opened her travel box so she could start exploring the new environment. I then went to take care of Néline, as I would usually do. In fact, it's very important to make the resident cat not feeling abandoned.
Praline was very curious and immediately started exploring. As she is a very confident kitten, she didn't have any problem to adapt.
After a while, Néline could smell Praline under the door: we then brought outside the bedroom the blanket on which Praline was sleeping when transported, so that Néline could get used to her smell.
We kept Praline in our bedroom with no contact with Néline for the first day.Praline and Néline
Praline was comfortable as she was eating, drinking, using the litter box and playing in the bedroom. Néline was also not showing any sign of distress. As Praline and Néline were both comfortable in their respective parts of the apartment, we decided to start with a first introduction. We opened the door of the bedroom and let Praline explore. When they saw each other they both growled and hissed, which is a normal reaction, but didn't display other sign of aggressivity. We then separated them again.
Before doing another introduction we exchanged each other place, with Néline in the bedroom and Praline in the rest of the apartment, so they could get used to each other’s smell.
We did another introduction in the evening, with much less growling and hissing. We then separated them again and proceeded with giving them their dinner, so that they associated the introduction with something positive.
As the introduction was going well, we decided to let them together when we could supervise them. Praline mainly explored the apartment closely supervised by Néline that stayed at a few meters from her. There wasn't growling anymore but some hissing when they were too close to each other.
We started feeding them as close to each other as possible so they would associate being close with something positive. We started at around 3 meters.
We still separated them for the night and when not supervised.Praline and Néline eating next to each other
Same as on the 3rd day, we let them together when we could watch them. There was less and less hissing. They started to tolerate being at approximately one meter from each other. We then started making them play with the same toys and kept making them eat close to each other: at each meal the situation improved. As they weren't aggressive, we stopped separating them at night. We, however, kept them separated when we weren't home, mainly to be sure that Praline didn’t do any mischief in the apartment, rather than to just separate them from each other.Néline sitting on Praline
They started to have some contact, as Néline was trying to smell her. They also started to have some playful fights, to test their limits.
After the first week, there was almost no hissing anymore and they were comfortable being close to each other.
After the first weekend at home, we didn't separate them anymore when we weren't home, as we were now comfortable with Praline exploring the whole apartment without supervision.
The relationship between them evolved well. We kept making them playing with the same toys and eating close to each other.
As of today, at the end of July, they play together at fighting several times a day and sometimes they clean each other, so we can safely say that they are now good friends.
We are really happy as our goal was to provide company to Néline and, in particular, someone to play with when we are not home. It's working well as it seems that Néline enjoys playing with Praline more than playing with us! I can’t wait to see how their relationship will keep evolving.