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C2003-09

Dear Christopher Cat

Our cat Chloe just lost her feline companion, and we’re thinking of adopting an adult male cat to keep her company.  How should we introduce them?

Christopher Responds

The first step is to take your new cat to the veterinarian. 

You’ll want to be sure he tests negative for the feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency viruses and is otherwise healthy.   If he is sneezing or has runny eyes, he could transmit an upper respiratory infection to Chloe.

Give the new cat a room of his own for a few days.  He and Chloe can smell each other and bat at the other’s feet under the door, and both will feel safe as they become acquainted.

When he’s ready to explore the rest of your home, open the door of his room and let him wander on his own.  The cats will introduce themselves when they are ready; don’t force the situation.

Don’t cuddle either cat as they are getting to know each other or you’ll get scratched as the cat you’re holding escapes.

To ease any hard feelings, feed treats or small amounts of canned food at opposite ends of the kitchen.  The cats should be able to see each other but not be so close that they become defensive. 

Over the next few weeks, shorten the distance between their food bowls.  Very soon they will be friends.

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