PDF Your Cat, Your Home: A Guide to Living Happily with Cats

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Cats Can be Good Roommates

  1. Keeping your cat happy
  2. How to manage introductions
  3. Keeping your cat happy | International Cat Care
  4. Tips for Living with a Cat in a Apartment

Pop into your local pet shop or supermarket and you will be faced with a whole aisle full of cat food. So, how do you know which one to feed to your cat? Cats are naturally inquisitive animals and while most will enjoy happy lives free from danger, their curiosity can get them into scrapes from time to time.

Keeping your cat happy

The average life expectancy of a cat is around 14 years but many cats live well beyond this age. Microchipping offers cats a safe and permanent method of identification and increases the chances of a lost cat being safely reunited with their owner.

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Cats Protection believes that getting your cat neutered before it can breed is an essential part of responsible cat ownership. By understanding the behaviour the cat has developed to enable it to thrive in a changing world, we can learn how to best provide for our cats, meet their needs, maximise their welfare and ensure long-lasting friendships for happy cats and owners. Cats which are nervous, aggressive or act in what we consider is an inappropriate way — such as spraying indoors — behave that way for a reason.

Punishing your cat will only make matters worse. This will be particularly important when you have more than one cat as it will give them the opportunity to go up high should they feel the need to.

How to manage introductions

You can start this process even before you bring your new cat home by exchanging bedding between the cats if this is possible. When you bring your new cat home, avoid the temptation to let them explore your home at first, as they will need a few days to adjust to their new surroundings. To do this, stroke each cat without washing your hands to mix scents separately! For this reason, it is useful to delay the cats from meeting for several days or even a week. Problems can arise if initial meetings are rushed or if the cats are allowed to fight or chase.

The best way to avoid this is to use a barrier such as a tall stair gate for initial introductions. Stair gates are extremely useful as they will allow the cats to see and smell each other without being able to directly meet.

Keeping your cat happy | International Cat Care

Cats prefer to be able to watch from a distance and approach in their own time, so avoid handling or picking either cat up to bring them closer. You can provide both cats with some tasty food at this point which will distract them and help create a positive association , but make sure there is plenty of distance between them at first.

Keep these initial interactions short at first and try to end on a positive note.

Final tips

Hopefully both cats will eventually sniff each other through the bars their individual scents should be familiar at this point, which will make this interaction a bit less scary , but you may find that they hiss or moan at each other. Pop a blanket over one side which will help the kitten feel safe and allow the adult cat to approach.

Tasty food can be used as above but remember to give your kitten and cat lots of space. Take care not to overwhelm either the kitten or your existing cat and take regular breaks. If either cat or kitten appears frightened or displays aggression, go back a few steps and keep them separate for a while longer. Continue scent swapping regularly and try again the next day. As things progress in the right direction, you can open up the rest of the house. During this time, both cats should have their individual areas that they can access easily.

Feed the cats near the door that separates them so they learn that coming together even though they can't see each other results in a pleasant experience. In addition to regular cat food, feed the cats extra-special treats near the door as well, like tiny pieces of tuna, salmon, cheese, chicken or liver. After two to three days, switch the cats' locations so they can investigate each other's smell. This also allows the new cat to explore a different section of your home.

Some behaviorists suggest rubbing the cats separately with the same towel to intermix their scents. First gently rub one cat with the towel. Then rub the other cat. After the towel carries both cats' scents, bring the towel back to the first cat and rub her with it again.

After a few more days, play with each of the cats near the door.

Tips for Living with a Cat in a Apartment

Encourage them to paw at toys under the door. Eventually the cats may play "paws" under the door with each other. After a week or so, assuming that you see no signs of aggression at the door no hissing, growling, etc.

One method is to replace the door with a temporary screen door so that the cats can see each other. If you can't use a screen door, you can try using two baby gates positioned in the door jam, one above the other. Ask a friend or family member to help you with the introduction. Have one cat and one person on each side of the door, and start the introduction by setting each cat down a few feet away from the screen or gates.

When the cats notice each other, say their names and toss treats to them, aiming the treats behind them. Over the next few days, continue to encourage feeding, eating treats and playing near the barrier, gradually offering the cats' meals, treats and toys closer to the screen.

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The next stage is to permit the cats to spend time together without a barrier between them. Supervise these initial face-to-face interactions carefully. It's good to bring the cats together when they are likely to be relatively calm, such as after a meal or strenuous play.