Introducing new cats into the home

This post is sponsored by Mirum, but opinions expressed are my own.

I’ve always loved animals but I never thought I would become a bonafide cat lady. I have three fur babies that I spoil to no end every single day. And by spoil I mean I have full-blown conversations with them, anticipate seeing them when I come home, miss them when I travel, torture them with lots of high-pitched baby talk and make sure they’re very well taken care of. Cats are seriously the best, and I can’t imagine a household without one (two or three).

This little guy right here is Poseidon, the god of the sea, earthquakes, storms, and horses. I know. Super dramatic name. For short, we just call him Posie. He’s a total lapcat, and has absolutely no characteristics of any type of storm or quake. He’s quiet, calm and cuddly and is usually by my side while I work in the office, watch TV, take a nap, bathe or sleep at night. So pretty much all the time.

Posie came into our lives about two years ago when my son’s friend called to say that his Siamese cat just had a litter. We already had two adult cats so I was completely against the idea of getting any more animals, especially if it required more litter box maintenance. My son begged and asked me to at least see the kittens before making up my mind. I got suckered into the idea, and sure enough I fell in love with this little tiny gray fur ball.

I was very concerned about our adult cats at home. I didn’t want them to feel replaced, especially Zeus, who was the ultimate alpha boss cat. Fortunately, we had an unused space by the living room separated by a sliding glass door, which made the transtion, albeit slow, a successful one. We ocassionally cracked the doors just enough for them to sniff each other. Eventually, it progressed into closer contact, which went fairly well minus some hissing and minor – very normal – freak outs. But we let the cats guide how long it would take for everyone to be in the same room without incident.

When introducing new cats, there a few things to keep in mind: 

Set realistic expectations. Cats are very territorial. You can’t force them to like each other. It will happen in their time. Your older cats may not be in the mood to deal with kitten behavior. They would rather chill and be left alone. In our case, we lucked out. Our adult cats welcomed the extra playtime. However, not all cats will feel the same, which is why going slow is key.

Your adult cat may act out. Be on the look out for some territorial behavior like peeing on your brand new carpet. As they get more comfortable (and you stay on top of neutralizing marked areas in your house), this behavior should subside.

Diffuse conflict. Cats get stressed when they feel things have changed. They like what they like, and that needs to be respected. If you see ears bending back and tails puffing up, calmly separate the cats for at least a day or two.

All cats need to pass health inspection. A vet check up (shots, etc) should be top on the list, as well as a thorough flea and tick inspection. For this, PetArmor is a great alternative to costly bills for kittens 8 weeks and up. It’s vet-quality and super simple to use for fleas, flea eggs, flea larvae, ticks and chewing lice, and can be used on breeding, pregnant and lactating kitties.

All you need to do is remove the product tubes from the package and hold the tube with notched end pointing up and away from the face and body. Use scissors to cut off the narrow end at the notches along the line. While holding the cat with one hand, use the other hand to apply the solution. Invert the tube and use the narrow end to part the cat’s hair. Apply contents of one tube as a spot between the shoulder blades. Hold the cat for a few seconds to give the solution time to be absorbed into the cat’s coat. The formula will keep working on your cat for up to 30 days. That’s it.

Keep it slow and steady. Since cats are very sensitive to smell, it’s important that you slowly merge their belongings, like food trays, beds or a favorite blanket.

In our case, the very slow introduction actually turned out to be a blessing. While playing with Posie, we discovered he had a few visible fleas. He was scheduled to see the vet but we couldn’t wait. We immediately went to the Target near our home and picked up a couple of PetArmor kits. Grabbing a kit from Target is super convenient and affordable. Not only did we need to protect our new fur baby, but we also needed to make sure our other cats would be safe as well. They also received the treatment, just in case.

Just when Posie got comfortable being the baby of the house, my son calls me frantic about the kitten’s half-brother (from the same litter, which I didn’t know was possible). Another friend “adopted” the brother without permission, and was now forced to rehome him. At the time, I was traveling and said “Absolutely not! Four cats is just crazy!” as I shuffled from my hotel room to the elevator in a rush to a meeting. He knew I couldn’t talk so he started texting me pictures of this beautiful white kitten with blue eyes and quirky personality.

Well, I don’t need to tell you what happened next.

I couldn’t say no to those baby blues. When I got back home, we went through the whole process again of slowly introducing another fur baby to the adult cats and using PetArmor to make sure he was safe. We named him Apollo, god of music, poetry, art, oracles, archery, plague, medicine, sun, light and knowledge. That’s quite a lot to live up to, I know.

However, similar to Posie, he’s the opposite of his name. He’s extremely goofy, demanding and playful. And although I was against it at first, I regret nothing about agreeing to open our home up to him.

Here is one of the OG cats, Athena – the goddess of wisdom and war. In this case, she actually lives up to the wisdom part of her name. She once woke my fiancé up in the middle of the night because he was having an asthma attack in his sleep. How’s that for an amazing cat?

Since the passing of her brother Zeus about a year ago (yes, we have a whole Greek tragedy theme going on here), she’s been a bit shy so we always make sure to give her our undivided attention. Bed time is Athena time. That is, until her brothers jump on the bed and take over. Because siblings.

Cats may seem easy because many are so laid back, but that’s not the case. They do require a lot of care and attention, especially because they are so particular. Cleaning the litter daily, making sure they’re eating the right food and properly hydrated since they’re not natural water drinkers, keeping up with vet appointments, and making sure their fur is clear of fleas and ticks even if they’re indoor cats (believe it or not, guests can carry them into your house!). If your pet ends up with those pesky critters, it’s not your fault. It can happen in any household.

I highly suggest you grab a PetArmor kit during your next Target run or online. Cats can be expensive, so affordability is top on our list. If you’re bringing new cats into the home, it’s a must-have along with making sure you create loving environment for your fur babies.

What are your tips for making sure your cats (or dog) feel loved and taken care of?

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