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How to Introduce Cats



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there's a huge myth that cats are

solitary animals they don't like the

company of other animals that's not true

I believe that all cats should be with

other cats the way they are in nature

but how do you do it how do you get cats

to get together that's what we're gonna

do today cat to cat introductions

now let's get catified and what is that

beautiful people it is your cat daddy

Jackson galaxy here today we're gonna

talk about the introduction of cats cat

to cat introductions back in the early

nineties when I would go into shelters

and I'd be like well tell me how I

should introduce a cat to a cat it's so

many times I would hear it's cool man

you just put them in a room together

they'll work it out guess what they will

not work it out no they'll work out who

will wind up losing an eyeball and who

will wind up losing a claw and the other

ones eyeball and they'll work out who's

gonna wind up on top of the fridge for

the next month and a half the first

thing that I would tell you to do

whenever doing introductions is make

sure that your existing cat is already

on a meal time in terms of preparation

the biggest thing is no free feeding

that means that you're putting your

existing cat on a meal plan they get fed

X number of times a day twice a day

three times a day is fine just make sure

that you're sticking with it get your

cat on a schedule that includes playtime

they already know that when you wake up

in the morning something's gonna happen

when you come home from work something's

gonna happen

you can't sync up meal times right

around that neck of the woods

and you're almost there step two would

be Basecamp that's the place where your

new cat's gonna hang out that's their

zone their base camp the whole notion of

Basecamp is that you have a place that

might not be home at first but it

becomes home and for cats

becoming home is a lot about scent being

able to get their scent into things is

really important there's objects that I

call scent soakers which are you know

like this little fuzzy beast right here

that have to get their body on to roll

around in and every time they walk up to

it they smell themselves same thing with

the bed

the same thing with blankets the same

thing with litter boxes clearly all that

stuff goes into their base camp you take

your cat your new best buddy cat bring

them straight into base camp I don't

want these two cats out of any eye

contact and the contact contact no

nothing until I tell you but right now

I'm telling you not to cat goes into

base camp that's their place to be for

the next who knows could be less than a

week could be more than a week you have

to know the cat that you're working with

in order to get that together in the

meantime I don't want that cat living in

there 24/7 for weeks on end that's not

fair to the new cat and in a way it's

not fair to the old cat as well because

let's say for instance that base camp is

your bedroom

you're now roping up one of the most

important territories in the entire

world

from your existing cat not cool they

will let you know when they're ready to

start moving out of base camp

they're gonna let you know that they're

sort of got their nose at the door

they're wondering what the heck is

behind the door and if they let you know

that within three hours start the

site-swapping if it takes a few days for

them to acclimate do that site swapping

is swapping the different sites and you

do that without an ever laying site on

one another which is to say for instance

your cats roaming around the world you

take your cat put them in the bathroom

take the new cat let them out into the

house take your cat put them in the

bedroom no eye contact no contact

contact nothing you are calling these

shots for the first however long right

we are never letting these cats work it

out because as we have talked about

before they ain't gonna do it another

really important part of prepping for a

new arrival is catifying for a new cat

catification is pretty much a key to

every little aspect of the things I talk

about I mean if you've watched my show

before you're probably tired of me

saying you have to let your cat explore

the vertical world by allowing them to

get away from each other when they

finally get to each other one can get

high one can get low one can get away

while the other one's like hey well what

are you all about if you have just the

floor for them to compete over it's

probably not going to end well someone's

gonna wind up in a corner

someone's gonna wind up getting ambushed

this way make sure that things are

number one out in the open and

- there are places to escape the worst

thing that you can possibly do with

getting two cats together is have a

litter box in a corner have a litter box

in a place where there's no getting away

from each other and having one litter

box I don't know my attempts I got to

tell you guys one cat two litter boxes

two cats three litter boxes etc etc etc

I know you hate doing that but believe

me what you're going to not have happen

by having these extra litter boxes

you're gonna thank so the next thing

we're gonna talk about is the bulk of

the introduction concept that is the

other side of the door feeding ritual

you started right you haven't given your

cats any visual access to each other at

all why would you start now you wouldn't

but what you do want to do is start

creating a positive association and that

positive association is food if the only

time your cat smell food they smell each

other and the only time your cats smell

each other they smell food that's a

positive Association right there that's

why I had you get into the mealtime vibe

that's why we're having both cats eating

meals now we're gonna go in the opposite

side of a door and then you're gonna

give your cats personal space and then

slowly with every meal you're gonna do

this their goal is basically that

they're gonna walk up to their bowls

they're gonna eat they're gonna walk

away no hissing no growling no

shenanigans no great amounts of fears

that they won't eat at all

walk up eat walk away you're gonna

determine that challenge line that place

where your cats are really comfortable

on one side of the line and really not

on the other every single day one paw

over one paw over like they don't even

know what's going on but they're getting

closer they're getting closer this is

key don't rush it don't go too slow

every day a little bit of challenge but

every day it happens every meal it

happens these cats shouldn't come into

contact with food without having some

kind of contact with the other one of

course by that I don't mean visual I

just mean contact okay so the next step

after we've been doing this between the

door feeding ritual you're gonna get to

the point where you've gotten the cats I

don't know

foot and a half on either side of the

door you're gonna have about this much

space there's the door they're your cats

you're getting to the point where

they're walking up there eating hey I

know you I smell you you're probably a

good thing because you represent

and I'm gonna even walk away then you're

ready for visual access the next step

you will access so the best way to

introduce cats - cats once you get that

visual access thing going is a screen

door you think it's a big deal it's

actually not that big a deal

taking a door off its hinges and putting

a screen door on there is real I can do

it

I've done it you have no I can't even

like make ramen without setting the

house on fire and I have put a screen

door up before I am not kidding you so

if I can do it you can do it but there's

other ways of doing it there's baby

gates there are pet gates and peppy

extended me about four feet high now as

long as your cats don't jump the pet

game then you're okay you can use that

as well

the idea is you want to create a new

safe visual way for them to introduce

one another

you're gonna go back you're gonna do the

same damn thing with the feeding this

time they can see each other I love

using blankets that you can drape over

for instance the pet Cape and slowly

raise the curtain as time goes on just

as you gradually did this now you're

gonna gradually do that while you do

this does it sound like a lot of steps

yeah it is but this is the whole

lifetime of these cats moving forward I

like doing it this way take it or leave

it you can actually speed it up slow it

down

do whatever you want I'm giving you the

basics here because it's always worked

for me always now we are ready for the

final step in your cat's introductions I

call it eat play love so eat play love

is just an exercise that I do where

basically we're taking all the things

that cats love and we're putting it into

one little exercise they'd love to eat

they love to play that love to love the

idea is that when they finally come to

each other when we finally remove that

barrier between them and we're usually

doing it around dinnertime right but

what we're gonna do is we're gonna give

them an activity as they come into the

room

the worst thing that you can do when

having cats work it out is give them

nothing to do because then that other

cat is something to do is messing with

them become something to do being

offended at their presence is something

to do becoming territorial is something

to do leave one of the cats into the

room with a toy or the promise of treats

or whatever it is whatever turns that

cat on the most and then have the other

cat in the other part of the room you're

already doing something with them either

again treats toys laser pointer you're

getting them to move in the opposite

direction of the cat that is coming into

the room if they're coming in they've

got nothing to do that stare down that

thing what are you huh I don't know if I

like you why are you staring at me stare

down turns into a throw down it happens

constantly

don't let to stare down happen if your

cats get to that point while you're

doing the play with them that they lose

interest in the toy and they do that

stare down bye-bye

it's over if eat play love only the last

five minutes the first time two minutes

three minutes crime got it ended on a

high note

don't let it devolve into mayhem because

then you got to step it back separate

the cats do it again tomorrow just stay

on the horse you know what I'm saying

make sure that just because there's an

argument even a fight even if they chase

one another break it up tomorrow you're

gonna get back on the horse and do it

again because the more you avoid getting

back on that horse the more that that

last memory for your cats is gonna stay

there and that's how they're gonna

remember each other after all this time

of you creating positive associations

you're gonna leave it with a negative

you don't want to do this the last thing

that I want to mention is this as we go

forward after your cats have met after

you become sort of a happy family I want

you to bear in mind what a happy family

is everyone thinks that their cats after

they meet are going to snuggle up like

kittens littermates on the couch and go

to sleep in each other's arms

come on we have to realize that we're

dealing with cats here who need to sort

of prove that the other one is

beneficial for their life and not a

threat to their life before things can

start happening so just remember having

those cats tolerate one another

that's the promised land for the first

little while did you have these cats let

them get to know each other create

positive after positive after positive

then they'll become friends I don't want

you to get scared off I just want you to

be ready for things having this process

down will make sure that you're

minimizing any fracas 'iz any kerfuffles

there you have it introductions between

cat to cat to make for harmony in your

home keep tuning in and also don't

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until the next time I see you and you

see me all light and all love and all

mojo to you

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yeah

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