Tips on adding a cat to your family

Tips on adding a cat to your family
Thelonious Kennedy lounges outside his Ballard home in this undated photo.

It's always a challenge when someone new comes into the family – especially when that someone is a new cat.

Your house can be mighty scary at first, so you need to act accordingly.

"Start out slow with cats. They're not like dogs,” advises Laurel Ehrlich, an adoption counselor at Homeward Pet Adoption Center in Woodinville. “They're sometimes a little wary, so they have to do things at their own pace."

Ehrlich says it's often best to keep your new cat in one room until they feel comfortable.

Make sure there are some hiding places – either under furniture or in cardboard boxes – to help your kitten feel safe. A nice cozy bed will help her sleep soundly.

Don't force your new kitty to integrate into the family too quickly, especially if you already have a cat in the house. To them, that new cat is a complete stranger – possibly competition for your affection – not a future friend.

"So you have to do a slow introduction and provide a lot of positive things for the resident cat, so that it doesn't see this new cat as the enemy,” Ehrlich said. “It needs to see this as something positive happening."

One bit of housekeeping. Each cat should have its own litter box.

More Info:

Bringing a New Kitten Home

How to Introduce a Kitten to Your Cat at Home