BEFORE bringing a new cat into your home you should remember that your responsibility should be primarily for the cat or cats already in your care.
Think hard before asking a very elderly cat to put up with a new companion. Kittens may be accepted better than an adult cat, but kittens often pounce on and pester old cats. Some old cats will mother a kitten; others (like my eight-year-old) definitely won’t! A very energetic kitten can make an old cat’s life a misery.
It can take months and months for harmony and sometimes the cats will never be friends. An introduction takes at least a month – don’t hurry it. The slower you do it, the more likely it will work out OK. Cats which are used to a multi-cat household will be less upset than a cat which has lived alone. Get a kitten from a cat shelter which will promise to take it back if the introduction really doesn’t work out. A male and female mix is probably better than all female.
Be careful about accepting the local stray into your home. Ask yourself if an existing cat should have to put up with a former stray, who may bully her/him. Also think about checking for FIV, the cats Aids equivalent. In the case of a stray, you can feed it, then when it is tame enough find it a new home.
Next week I, with the help of Celia Haddon, shall be looking at tips to make a cat feel at home and be accepted by already resident feline friends.