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Why Introducing Cats Properly Is Important

By Edited May 11, 2015 1 2
How to introduce cats

So why deal with the hassle of introducing cats properly? Well, for one, it will prevent an outright war in your living room - with spraying, aggressive marking and fur flying everywhere. Secondly, because it will save you and your fur balls oodles of stress, aggravation and time.

Let's have a closer look at how and why cats put up with living in groups

Territory is king

 Cats are territorial - more so than dogs, and people. They live in groups only out of necessity  and even within that group, it is each cat for himself. That does not mean they cannot appreciate a fellow cat and even become close with them - it just means that they don’t really understand the principle of a tribe the way that dogs and people do. Instead of an intricate hierarchy system, they use the concept of timesharing. They have the bare minimum of agreements needed with fellow cats to share common resources without too much conflict. Those agreements generally do not apply to the entire group and are made between individuals. 

 For instance:

 ‘I get this spot in the morning, you can use it in the afternoon.’

 This gives them maximum individual freedom, but also has its drawbacks. For instance, if they get injured, threatened or in some way find themselves at risk, they are on their own. There is no tribe or pack to protect them, or help them find food. If six cats sit in a courtyard and a dog picks one of those cats to chase, the other ones will watch and stay in their spot as it really does not concern them - that one cat is perfectly capable of handling himself.

Without the protection of a pack, however, it stands to reason that their territory - their sanctuary -  is even more crucial. Regular marking and patrolling the borders of that territory to check for intruders and potential other risks is essential to their survival. As such, they are a basic part of feline behaviour.

Intruder alert

So why is all this important?

When a new cat is introduced into their territory, it is going to put the resident cat on the defensive. And more often than not, kitty is not going to be interested in making friends and sharing their resources as this stranger represents a risk to their safety first and foremost.

 On top of it all, the cat being introduced just went through a world of trauma.

Think about it.

Suppose you were suddenly taken from your home and dumped in a new place - say, the rain forest -  without so much as a warning, anything familiar to hold on to from your past and with no way of knowing what is coming next.

You have no idea where you are, how to get back to where you feel safe nor how hostile the natives are. Your first instinct will be to get your bearings and hide while you make a plan, and get some sense of how safe your environment is. And that is exactly what your new, already stressed kitty will try to do.

 Meanwhile, their worst fears are true - the natives are likely very hostile. Your resident cat is probably going to be hellbent on driving the intruder out of their safe haven to ensure their own safety. Unfortunately, the new cat will have no way of actually leaving that territory and avoiding the inevitable conflict.

Cat Mediation Time

And that is why it is important to learn how to introduce cats properly to each other - to give them the best chance of actually living together in harmony instead of wrecking your home in the line of duty. 

Give them a chance to see that the other cat isn’t a threat, and even comes with additional perks: cuddles, attention, treats and of course a new buddy.



Mar 28, 2014 8:02am
I enjoy how you write, very engaging. Helpful article too, so many people overlook the possibilities when introducing a new cat.
Mar 28, 2014 10:33am
Thanks ;)
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