In introducing a new cat, I always say two cats are better than one, and I myself live in a multi-cat home. Caring for two cats is just as easy as caring for one. They will entertain and play with each other and most of all, keep each other company. If you have not gotten your Siamese yet, and are planning to get a kitten, get two. They will grow up and become best friends.
If you have one kitty and would like to adopt another that is great. It is best to adopt one that is younger, smaller, and the opposite sex of the one you have. Your older larger cat will be more accepting of a kitty that is less intimidating. I have brought in kittens and older cats into my house.
I had five cats, 3 females and 2 male, when I adopted (or rather he showed up at my door step) my largest male cat “The General” into my home. He is a very large beautiful orange tabby. I had him checked out by the vet first before I brought him in and afterwards everything went very smooth. They all adapted well.
Remember when introducing a new cat that cats are very territorial, and at first it seems like you really turn their world upside down. They are creatures of habit and do not like change. But cats are so smart and adaptable and it will work out.
• Put the new kitty in a separate room with food, water, and a litter box. It’s best to keep the litter box far from the food. Also make available scratching post, toys, and bed.
• There might be a great deal of hissing and spitting behavior through the closed door from both cats. This is natural behavior and the beginning of the establishment of a hierarchy.
• Olfactory (scent) is very important in cats. It is very important for them to smell each other indirectly. I have taken a wet wipe or towel and rubbed it over each cat and let the other one smell it. If there are more than two cats, do this for each of them. In introducing a new cat it is very important for the cats to get use to each other’s odor. This will help them accept the scent as a normal part of the house.
• You can also try feeding your resident pets and the new kitty on each side of the door to this room, so that they associate something enjoyable (eating!) with each other's smells. Don't put the food so close to the door that the animals are too upset by each other's presence to eat. Gradually move the dishes closer to the door until your pets can eat calmly while standing directly on either side of the door.
• Do a switcheroo – put the new cat in the normal living areas, and let the resident cat(s) stay in the new cat’s room. This switch provides another way for the animals to experience each other's scents without a face-to-face meeting. It also allows the newcomer to become familiar with her new surroundings without being frightened by the other animals.
• When you think they are ready let them mingle under your supervision. Expect there to be hissing and growling so ignore this, only intervene if a physical fight breaks out. Depending on how they get along, take this step slowly. When I tried this, my resident cats were already use to the newcomer, and basically ignored her.
• Make their first activities enjoyable and pleasurable by feeding, playing and petting them. Always praise them for their good behavior.
• If either animal becomes fearful or aggressive, separate them, and start the introduction process once again with a series of very small, gradual steps, as outlined above.
• Now since you have multiple cats you'll also want to have at least one litter box per cat, and you'll probably need to clean all of the litter boxes more frequently. Make sure that none of the cats is being "ambushed" by another while trying to use the litter box, and be sure each cat has a safe hiding place.
Often when you have multiple cats there may be a time when litter box problems occur. Most litter box problems are due to cat behavior problems with the additional cats. With time and dedication, behavior problems can be solved.
For more information go to Introducing a New Cat at bestfriends.org.