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5 Mistakes Cat Parents Make When Introducing Their Cat to Other Pets

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Bringing in a new pet to your home is a wonderful feeling. Once you’ve determined to bring in a new pet addition to your home, planning how to get both your cat and new pet will get along deserves considerable attention.

Although it’s exciting to get a new family addition, there are inevitable missteps and mistakes to avoid ensuring everything runs smoothly and that both pets are comfortable with each other. So how do you ensure your cat and new pet move from strangers to perfect cuddle buddies?

Read on for top insights into the key pet introduction mistakes to avoid—and what to do in their place instead.

1) Introducing both your pets with a barrier

Always make the first introduction between your cat and other pets through a barrier to avoid any unprecedented problems. Thanks to this barrier, the initial encounter will be much safer for both pets.

The barrier will stop your cat from coming into direct touch with the new or existing pet and maybe fighting should something go wrong during the introduction…like if your cat hisses or both pets attack each other.

2) Leaving both pets alone together

One of pet owners' most common mistakes is leaving their cats and other pets alone. Even if they appear close and enjoy each other's company, leaving them unattended can rapidly become catastrophic.

Just because they get along doesn't imply that they've truly bonded or gained each other's trust. This bond can take months or even years to develop.

All interactions between your cat and other pets should be supervised to avoid harm, injury, or even death. With supervision, you can quickly intervene and prevent a bad situation from worsening.

3) Not understanding your pet’s personality and behavior

A lot of cat parents will introduce their cats to their new pet without their cat’s behavior and personality in mind.

Before doing an introduction, understand your cat's behavior and how they behave under different conditions, such as tension, anger, calmness, or provocation. Through this level of understanding, you can predict and gauge how well the interaction is going.

If your cat hisses, growls, and has a stiff posture during the introduction, they’re uncomfortable with the new animal. Conversely, if your new pet is acting differently, they are probably also

stressed and uncomfortable. Understanding your cat's and new pet’s behavior and cues can prevent a poor interaction before it turns violent.

4) Forcing the relationship

There isn't much you can do to fix a situation where both pets don’t get along. If both pets have been properly introduced to one another but don't appear to get along, don't push the issue.

It's a bad idea to try to get your cat and other pet to become friends or buddies if neither of them desires to. Forcing relationships will worsen the situation making both pets anxious while escalating tensions in your home.

The best action in such a situation is to separate both pets. This can require their being in entirely different rooms. While they may not get along now, it doesn’t mean they’ll not always get along. It may require some time, patience, and perseverance, so don’t force the relationship.

PRO TIP: Always pay attention to what your cat or other pet is trying to tell you and take appropriate action.

Learn more about how to read your cat's body language here.

5) Lack of personal space

Most animals are territorial and will exhibit hostility when they perceive another animal invading their space. As such, introducing pets in areas or territories they claim as their own will cause tension.

For instance, bringing your new pooch into your cat's favorite couch

can cause your cat to become violent.

On the other hand, if your cat somehow manages to get into your dog’s bed, your dog can get combative. Animals frequently consider such spaces their territory, so avoid introductions in locations where they eat and sleep.

Try looking for more neutral environments and places, such as unoccupied rooms where both pets don't frequently eat, sleep, or visit. These safer places are the best places to comfortably introduce your pets to one another for the first time.

Bottom Line

Getting your cat a new sibling can be a wonderful gesture and a beautiful gift.

But unfortunately, it requires a lot of effort to get everyone along. Making the abovementioned mistakes could hinder your pets from forging a cross-species friendship and set them up for failure.

If you have questions about integrating your cat with a new pet, seek the help of a professional animal behaviorist. 

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