Introducing Cats To Cats: The Expert’s Guide To A Smooth Transition

You're lounging at home, watching your cat prance around with joy. You're filled with warmth and think, 'Why not double this happiness?' So, you decide to introduce another fluffy companion into your household. But where do you start when introducing cats to cats? How do you ensure harmony in your cat-filled paradise?

In this comprehensive guide, we'll navigate the dos and don'ts of introducing cats to each other. We'll discuss essential steps like veterinary checkups, creating a safe space, and a tried-and-true blanket trick that eases introductions. We'll also cover warning signs to watch out for that could indicate potential conflicts.

This guide will walk you through the initial idea of adoption, through a step-by-step process of integration, to ultimately cohabitating peacefully with multiple cats. Stick with us and get ready to successfully open your home to another bundle of whiskers. Remember, it's not just about adding another cat; it's about expanding your family.

So, what's the first thing you need to do after bringing home a new cat? Let's find out!

New Cat's Health and Safety: First Steps

Let's start with an interactive game on the scent-infused blanket. Use a feather or a string to get your new cat fully engaged. The goal is to cover the blanket with the new cat's scent. After a few days, move the blanket to a spot your resident cat frequents.

Observing Your Resident Cat's Response

As your resident cat approaches the blanket, watch their body language. Normal responses include sniffing, pawing, or even a little growling. However, if you spot signs like flattened ears, a twitching tail, or hissing, be prepared. These warning signs might hint at some conflict when the cats first meet.

Let your resident cat interact with the blanket as they wish for a few days. Engage them in play on the blanket and even rub it on them. Now, the blanket is not just carrying the scent of the newcomer, but a blend of both.

Introducing the Blanket Back to the New Cat

Once again, bring the blanket back to the new cat without washing it. Yes, it might be a little dirty by now. The new cat should spend another day or so with the blanket. Observe their reactions, looking out for any warning signs.

The Blanket Under the Door: Final Step

Next, if the blanket is small enough, lay it flat under the door separating the two cats. Both cats will have access to the blanket from their respective sides. Now, they can smell each other through the gap in the door, with the blended scents on the blanket adding to their sensory experience.

Place some treats on the blanket to create positive associations with each other's scents.

The Final Test: Observing Their Reactions

Watch their reactions closely. If there's no sign of a potential cat fight, it's a positive signal. You might even sprinkle some catnip along the door's gap on top of the blanket. This can encourage both cats to relax and play, even though they're still separated.

If all goes well, your cats are ready for their first face-to-face meeting. We'll discuss the ideal way to supervise this meeting in the next section. Stay tuned!


The Big Event: Supervised First Meet-up

It's time for the highly anticipated first meeting. This moment should be under watchful eyes. If possible, have more than one person present to supervise this encounter. Keep a heavy towel or blanket nearby. You might need it to separate the cats if a fight breaks out. Open the door and let the two meet nose to nose.

Initial Reactions: What to Expect

If you've followed all the steps and resisted the urge to rush, you'll likely witness a few initial hisses, but nothing more severe. Keep an eye on both cats during this first hour. You might be pleasantly surprised to find them curled up together on your bed, taking a peaceful nap.

introducing cats to cats

Bonding with the New Cat: Spend Time Together

While your new cat remains in isolation, make it a point to visit them regularly. Just sit with them on the floor. I have a tradition of reading aloud to my new pets. I spend about 10 minutes each day reading in a soft voice. This habit helps them grow accustomed to my voice.

Making Your Scent Familiar

In addition to this, I also leave an old t-shirt I've exercised in with the new cat. This tactic allows the newcomer to get familiar with my scent.

Dealing with Shyness: Have Patience

If your new cat hides from you in the early days, don't worry. They're just trying to adjust to their new surroundings. A bit of patience goes a long way.

Soothing Techniques for Scared Cats

If they seem particularly scared, you can help them relax. Play some classical music at a low volume or use a ticking alarm clock wrapped in a towel. Placing this near their sleeping spot can mimic the comforting rhythm of their mother's heartbeat, helping them adjust more quickly.

Wrapping Up: Success Lies in Patience

Over the years, I have repeatedly implemented this approach, reaping tremendous success. It isn't a quick-fix strategy but a thorough and effective one, capable of preventing most issues before they even begin. As long as you balance your time between both cats, ensuring neither feels neglected, this method will not let you down. It hasn't failed me yet. Let's quickly recap the crucial steps:

  • Vet visits before letting the two cats even sniff their noses.
  • Isolation for the newcomer supplying two litter boxes, food bowls, and water dish toys.
  • Visit the newcomer often sit on the floor and read out loud softly.
  • If kitty hides, just accept it, she will come out to you eventually, don't chase her.
  • To soothe the newcomer use the alarm clock trick, and play classical music.
  • Use the blanket trick, it really works and makes that initial first meeting less stressful for everyone.
  • Add an old tee shirt that you got really sweaty to the newcomer's room.
  • The first meeting has help and a blanket or heavy towel at the ready to toss over any aggressive kitty.
  • Don't neglect either cat during the isolation period. Interactive playtime between both of them and yourself is very important.


We have a more recent and thorough article on the topic. If you're dealing with introducing cats make sure you check out this guide too:

How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide

Good luck and thank you for bringing yet another cat or kitten home to love.

Read more: multi-cat-household

Written by Mary Anne Miller

 introducing cats to cats

Mary Anne Miller is a freelance writer and member of the Cat Writers' Association. She is a web copywriter, and passionate about feral cats/kittens and bottle babies. You can read more by Mary Anne on her Feral Cat Behavior Blog.

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9 comments on “Introducing Cats To Cats: The Expert’s Guide To A Smooth Transition

Sarah July 7, 2020
What if you are trying to reintroduce two brothers that have been separated for almost three months?
    Furballsmom November 27, 2020
    Sarah, if you come back to the site, please register with us (it's free) and post in the forum that's dedicated to this type of question, because that is where members will see your post. The forum is If you are unfamiliar with forums this may be helpful;
Ashley&Cats July 24, 2017
So happy I was introduced to this article! I have had a blanket inside my newcomers "safe room" since getting him Friday night. I will be taking it out tonight to give to my resident cat! We've so far been using the baby gate introduction method which wasn't working till today. I'm hoping by the weekend we will be able to introduce them and all will go well! :)
Dee Ashley December 31, 2016
Thank you for this article! My 9 y/o cat just lost his brother that he was very attached to and it's become obvious he needs a companion cat to help fill the void. While I'm not expecting (although I'd be thrilled if this were to happen), him to become as close to a new family member as he was to Jack, I'm hoping his behavioral issues that have started after the loss of his brother will be lessened with another cat. The last thing I want to do however, is add to his stress instead of alleviating it, so the idea of a new kittie has me both hopeful and anxious. I love your blanket approach. Putting the blanket under the door with the additional positive reinforcements (food/catnip/etc.), is brilliant. I'm definitely going to try that approach when the time comes! Thanks again, Dee
catsmeow100 November 22, 2014
I have a 2 year old female small stray just here 3 weeks and 2 -5yr olds already. I am finding this a wee bit of a stressful time because I feel bad for all three of them. My two just keep running scared upstairs and walk as far away as they can from the pet gate I have up for the new one. SHe jumped the pet gate and ran after my one and I was on the stairs. I snapped my fingers and said calmly her name and she came down. But as I picked up her, she was fine but soon as she got to where my other cat was in the path, she started flailing her paws and hissing. It will be a slow process but hopefully after a week or so, it will get better.
fellowstring June 10, 2013
I have the same problem with my 13 year old neutered tom. I have rescued an abandonded neutered 2 year old tom and the introduction process isn't going too well. I know my resident long time tom is lonely as he continually seeks out the company of my neighbours cats, but won't tolerate the latest intrusion of the very sweet and gentle new boy and is very aggressive towards him. I will be continuing with all the advice above and hold thumbs for at the very least, a mutual tolerance.
pamela derouen July 2, 2012
Give them time....
Anne February 16, 2012
Hello Caro, we welcome comments on articles, but I suggest you post your question on the behavior forum, where more people are available to offer their help. The forums offer a better platform for the "back and forth" that might be required.
caro February 16, 2012
Hi Mary Anne I introduced a 9 year old neutered tomcat to my 2, 6 year old spayed females, 6 days ago and followed the procedure recommended, isolation/scent & territory switching etc. When the girls started to get curious I let them meet Stan the new boy. It went OK, first nose to nose, then they backed off and hissed at him. he does not retaliate. However one of my females, Polly is timid and she seems to be scared of him (though he is a very sweet, gentle boy) and he has started to stalk and corner her (more out of curiosity I feel) but Polly reacts terrified, with ears flat, lying down growling. Then I separated them and put him back in his room. The other cat Henrietta simpy seems to hate him. later, after the initial meeting she smacked him when he came too close but he seems to respect that and stays away. My friend says just leave them all toegether and let them sort it out but I'm worried for Polly. Any advice please. I am getting very stressed and it's only 2 days since they met! Caro

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