Points to remember to help your new cat settle in:


OTHER CATS:

It is very unlikely that your new cat and existing pets will be happy together at first. Some aggression is normal. The aggression may come from your new cat or your existing cat, or both.  THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEY WILL NEVER LIVE TOGETHER HAPPILY OR TOLERANTLY. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU HAVE TIME AND PATIENCE. YOUR NEW CAT IS LIKELY TO HAVE ALREADY ENDURED THE UPSET AND STRESS OF LOSING ITS ORIGINAL HOME. IT MAY HAVE BEEN IN THE RESCUE HOME LONG ENOUGH TO SETTLE THERE AND NOW IT HAS BEEN MOVED AGAIN. Please do not even think about returning a new cat because it "won't settle" until AT LEAST THREE MONTHS HAVE PASSED and there is no improvement in the relationship between the animals. Bear in mind that some cats are more tolerant of other pets than others, and don't be tempted to compare the settlement time taken with other cats you know of.  Every cat and every relationship is different. The average settling in time is 3 weeks, but some cats take much longer.

THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOUR PETS GET USED TO EACH OTHER:

Keep the cat in a room separate from other cats at first. It is important that your new cat has this time apart from other pets until it is reasonably confident of the environment and happy to explore.  Some cats are confident on arrival, and a week or so alone may be enough for them, but less  confident cats will need much more time to get used to new surroundings and new people.

When the cat is more confident, introduce the animals gradually and only when a human is present for the first few occasions.

Give your existing pets lots of extra loving attention when behaving well, but ignore any spats. Do not chastise them for being aggressive.  Chastisement is attention, and attention is what they want.

Get an old tea towel and rub it over your first cat and then place it under the food bowl of the new cat - and then to do the same the other way round. This way they will each associate smell of other cat with nice things like food.

Do not leave them alone together until you are sure they are tolerating each other. Eating out of the same dish together is a very good sign.

Feliway Diffuser is a product which plugs into an electric socket rather like an air freshener. It releases calming cat pheromones into the air, reducing stress and helping cats to live together harmoniously. Odourless to humans, this product is safe and contains no drugs. Available from vets, no prescription needed. Container is refillable and lasts about a month.

Other points to remember: 

* keep the cat indoors for at least 14 days before allowing it outside

* the first few outings should be when the cat is very hungry. Allow it out for a few minutes then call it back in and feed it immediately.

* do not allow children to overwhelm the cat with attention. It needs peace and quiet and time to rest.

* if you wish to change the cat's diet from what it is used to eating, do so gradually over a period of about 5 days, mixing familiar food with new.

* do allow the cat time to get used to you. It may not like being picked up and cuddled by someone it does not know. Be patient.

If your new cat is timid, special advice applies. Please click here for advice on settling in timid cats.