It was a cold winter night when Sam, the handsome stray tabby cat, showed up on my doorstep. The snowflakes hung on his whiskers as I watched his silent cries through the glass door. That marked the first night of many that he spent in my spare bedroom.
I was determined to make a housecat out of Sam, but my current cat, a long-haired tortie named Anya, had other plans.
It can be difficult to introduce two adult cats from outside each other’s family group, even if they’ve happily cohabited with other cats before, so we started out slowly. Sam stayed in the spare room, and I swapped out his blankets for Anya’s. However, Anya would hiss at Sam’s blanket and would not accept her favourite treats or toys when near it.
A few weeks after I started using a pheromone plugin specifically designed for multi-cat households, Anya started accepting treats near Sam’s bedroom. However, she would still try to pick a fight under the door occasionally, despite being half the size of Sam and made of 95% fur.
Throughout this whole time, I tried to find a home for Sam, but I secretly hoped that eventually they would be comfortable enough to meet in short periods through a baby gate. Then, I pictured intervals of supervised play, and eventually, they’d snuggle me to sleep every night.
While some adult cats may eventually accept other adults, it can be a highly stressful transition so a gradual approach is always best. Additionally, adding another cat to the house can compromise their health. Anyone considering getting a second cat should involve their veterinary team to help manage the risks, ensure all vaccines are up-to-date, and for guidance on controlling stress.
Winter eventually turned to spring, and Anya had not made much progress. Despite putting in weeks or months, many cats, like Anya, will never be fully comfortable sharing their home. Fortunately, their social, physical, and emotional needs can all be met by the human members of their family!
Sam has since found a very loving home where he is spoiled by the mama he was meant to find, and Anya is living a much better life as an only child. In the end, both cats are happiest, and although Sam doesn’t snuggle with us every night like I imagined, I can sleep better knowing they’re both living the life they deserve!
Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at danielle@NeighbourhoodPetClinic.com. Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.