Creating cat harmony
She said, " I don't know how she does it but she's got the cat house of harmony going on."
That was a comment from my friend, vet tech and fabulous cat sitter, Susan, as she introduced me to our new vet.
It made me think, "How do I do it?" Maybe my husband and I just get lucky? We do have a black cat and with our Irish heritage and believe they bring us luck.
However, anyone who has a cat in their household knows luck will take you only so far. You have to work on the relationship.
The picture you see here certainly didn't happen by luck.
Jayna is a senior cat who spent her first 10 years living as an only cat with an older gentleman who passed away. Going from the queen of a small, quiet house to the queen of a big, active house over the last year wasn't easy.
And then, the "perfect storm" arrived. Johnny Storm is a 17-week-old kitten who is still learning about the world. He's rambunctious, curious, high energy and definitely not wise to the ways of a proper lady like Jayna.
So, how did this picture of harmony happen within weeks of Johnny Storm joining our House of Cats?
Here's a few tips and tricks we use each time we've introduced a new cat. I should mention that each time has been different and had its own challenges. Some introductions take a few days. Some take months. We can't ask cats to be anything but who they are. We can, however, support them in becoming the best version of themselves.
#1 KEEP CALM! We use several different natural options for calming our house when a new cat is arriving OR when a new conflict has developed between existing cats. (It happens. You don't always get along with everyone in your family all the time. Do you? If the answer is yes, please write a blog about YOUR secrets.)
Multi-Cat pheromone diffusers are a staple in our home. These magical little plug-ins diffuse the same pheromones that a mother cat uses to keep harmony among her kittens. Guess what? That motherly pheromone helps keep harmony in adult cats too.
There are several types of pheromone diffusers. The other is used to deter marking, urinating out of the box and other territorial issues. It is useful as well and we have both. Just make sure you have the multi-cat version if you are looking to build a bond between your cats.
#2 TALK TO YOUR VET. Each time we introduce a cat, we make a trip to the vet within a week of adopting. Making sure your new cat is spayed or neutered and has a healthy checkup is important. Cats identify each other by scent. If your new kitty has any underlying health issues or isn't fixed, your other cats may sense it.
#3 LET THEM SNIFF, NOT SEE. To ensure the best chance of your cats co-existing, resist the urge to see how they react when they see each other! Have a room set up for your new kitty with access to water, food, scratch posts, toys and a litter box. Keep new kitty away from the others and let them SNIFF each other and talk through the door.
Getting to know each other's scents is the most important step in cat introductions.
In this situation, we took things VERY slowly with Jayna and even gave her a "private" introduction to Johnny Storm. This was, after all, her first time meeting a kitten. To ensure she didn't have the stress of the other cats adding to her uncertainty, we did brief introductions where she watched Johnny Storm play, eat and explore.
I'm happy to say that Jayna discovered her maternal instincts and has been vital to teaching Johnny Storm the rules of our house and her own personal boundaries. We are so proud of the cat she has become.
It's all about making your cat feel SAFE. No matter what, remember that it is in their DNA to be both predator and prey. Create the safest environment possible always for every cat in your household.
For more tips on introducing a new cat into your home, visit Best Friends Animal Society:
To follow along with the daily adventures in my House of Cats, join us on Instagram, @kjscats.