The arrival and presence of other pets in the home can be very stressful for a cat – whether this is from the perspective of a new cat to the home being introduced to an existing cat already resident in the home or from the perspective of the resident cat trying to cope with the arrival of an unfamiliar cat in their home.
For the new cat, this can be a particularly stressful time as she is being introduced to an unfamiliar home, new people and other pets all at the same time which is likely to make even the boldest and most confident cat feel worried and unsettled.
For the resident cat, as well as the stress associated with the sudden presence of an unfamiliar cat in to their home (often referred to as a cat’s ‘core territory’), there are likely to be other general changes associated with the addition of a new cat that might also cause your cat stress (such as a change in your behaviour, changes in routines, changes to access around the home etc.). It’s therefore important to try to maintain a resident cat’s normal routines as much as possible, and if you need to move any of her resources to accommodate the arrival of a new cat, that you do this gradually and before the new cat arrives.
Unlike dogs, as cats have evolved from a mainly solitary species, they may see the presence of another cat in the home as a possible ‘threat’. It’s therefore really important that you introduce the cats carefully and gradually and that you manage their environment, resources and relationship over the long term so they can live together harmoniously in the home.
Just like with a new cat, when it comes to introducing your new cat to a resident dog, the key here is again to introduce them carefully and slowly so that the cat has a better chance of feeling safe and in control in the presence of the dog.