When it comes to cat compatibility, there are various factors at play. Typically, two neutered male cats should get along better than two female cats, but the real answer is not so straightforward!
Whether you’re thinking of bringing home a new cat to introduce to your existing cat, or wondering if you should buy two cats at the same time, we will share some of our best tips on getting your kitties acquainted.
Is It Better to Have Two Cats of the Same Gender?
If you’re bringing kittens home at the same time, it’s better to bring home either two male cats, or a female and male combination. That doesn’t mean that getting two female kittens will always end in tears—just like us, cats have different personalities, and they may turn out just fine.
There are more important factors to take into consideration if you’re bringing home a new cat to introduce to an existing cat, for example, their age and each cat’s temperament.
Whichever gender cat you decide to go with, be aware that there will be an adjustment period. Below, we’ll share some tips on what you can do to make the adjustment period go smoother!
What Is the Best Age to Introduce a Second Cat?
The younger cats are when they are introduced to one another, the better. Cats that grow up together form strong life-long bonds. When a cat is over two years old, it becomes more difficult for it to accept another cat in its territory.
It’s still possible for an older cat to accept a new cat into the home, but it will require patience and a slow, careful introduction over a long period. If you have an adult cat, it’s better to bring a new kitten home rather than another adult cat. Just make sure to keep the kitten in a separate room and introduce them very carefully, over time!
Will My Cat Get Jealous if I Get Another Cat?
It’s quite normal for cats to get jealous of other cats. While some cats may turn up their nose and strut away to sulk, jealousy can manifest in more aggressive behavior in other cats.
Swatting, hissing, growling, biting, unprovoked attacks, hiding, and even going outside of the litter box could all be little ways in which your cat is protesting.
If you think your cat is showing signs of being jealous, it is super important to shower them with lots of love, attention, play, mental stimulation, and toys. Make sure your cats have separate bowls for food and water, and don’t make them have to share things.
Soon enough, your cat will begin to feel more secure and, hopefully, show fewer signs of jealousy and more signs of confidence.
Are Cats Happier in Pairs?
Despite their reputation as aloof and solitary animals, cats are actually very social creatures. Bonded cats will often groom one another, play, and sleep curled up beside each other. Sometimes, solitary cats can even suffer loneliness if they don’t have a feline companion.
Will My Older Cat Hurt a Kitten?
Despite craving a social bond, cats are extremely territorial. Your cat will almost certainly bristle at the presence of a new cat in his territory.
Kittens are not as strong or skilled at defending themselves as adult cats are, so be prepared to keep them in a separate room at first. An older cat may attack a kitten, either to protect its own resources, to defend its territory, or as a result of its hunting instinct.
If you introduce your kitten gradually and carefully, however, your adult cat should, hopefully, be able to accept them into the family.
How Long Does It Take for New Cats to Get Used to Each Other?
All cats are different, and while it may take some cats a shorter amount of time, and others longer, most cats can naturally develop a friendship over 8–12 months.
While some cats will form bonds, others will merely learn to tolerate each other. This is normal, but if your cats continue to fight after this time with no improvement, even after intervention from a vet, it may be best to rehome one.
The 6 Tips for Introducing New Cats
1. Keep Them Separate
When you first bring your new cat home, keep it in a separate room with its own food and water bowl, litter tray, and bed. Do not let the cats mix or even see each other yet!
2. Use a Cat Pheromone Diffuser
Cat pheromone diffusers will help both of your cats to feel more relaxed and at ease. The diffuser mimics a feline’s facial pheromones, which have a pacifying effect on cats. Place one in your old cat’s favorite spot, and one in your new cat’s room.
3. Introduction Through Scent First
Before letting your cats catch sight of each other, take your new cat’s blanket and place it down close to your resident cat’s favorite place. If he reacts badly with a hiss, drag the blanket a little further but don’t take it away. Each day, gradually bring the blanket closer to your resident cat’s food bowl. By doing this, you’re encouraging your cat to associate the positive feelings when eating with the scent of your other cat.
Do the same thing with your new cat using a towel or blanket from your resident cat.
When both cats are eating happily and not reacting badly to each other’s scent, it’s time for a visual introduction!
4. Visual Introduction
Open the door to the room your new cat is in, but keep the two rooms separated with a baby gate or a screen. If you don’t have this, peg the door only slightly ajar so neither cat can fit through but can see each other.
5. Positive Association
Each day, place down treats for both cats at the same time on either side of the gate or door. The cats should begin to associate the positive feelings of being given treats with each other’s presence.
If the cats begin sniffing noses or rubbing against the door, this is a good sign that they are on the right track!
6. Open the Door
When the cats are showing positive signs of progress, open the door and let them explore. Do not attempt to push the cats into the same spot. Instead, let them do it in their own time. If the cats begin to hiss or fight, distract them with a new sudden sound, and try to feed them close by—in different bowls—as positive reinforcement.
Some cats become best friends after just a few days, while it may take others many months. Above all, it’s important to remain calm and show patience.
If after your efforts, your cats are fighting continuously, getting injured, beginning to have litter box issues, one or both of them begins to hide or stops eating, it may be time to call your vet and ask for more advice.
Introducing your new cats to one another gradually and under the right conditions will have a bigger impact on how well they get along than simply the cats’ genders. That said, two female cats are more likely to fight than a pair of male cats, or a male and a female cat.
Doubling the number of cats in your life will likely bring you double the amount of love, cuteness, and fun, too. We hope our tips help you to grow your pet family more smoothly!
Featured Image Credit: Wasuta23, Shutterstock
- Is It Better to Have Two Cats of the Same Gender?
- What Is the Best Age to Introduce a Second Cat?
- Will My Cat Get Jealous if I Get Another Cat?
- Are Cats Happier in Pairs?
- Will My Older Cat Hurt a Kitten?
- How Long Does It Take for New Cats to Get Used to Each Other?
- The 6 Tips for Introducing New Cats
- Wrapping Up