When your unspayed female cat is coming into heat or you're acquiring a new kitty of the opposite sex, separating males from females helps keep the peace. Keep cats securely separated for as long as you need to, monitoring kitty behavior and introducing them at the right time.
Prepare a safe space in your home for your male cat. Since the space will be the cat's home while you're keeping the kitties separated, provide everything Kitty needs to feel comfortable. At minimum, have a food dish, water dish, litter box and bedding. Place a robe in the room, which you'll wear when spending time with the male kitty. This prevents too much of his scent from getting on your clothes.
Place your male cat into a cat carrier. Take the cat carrier into the safe space and firmly shut the door, then let the cat out of the carrier.
Leave the cat alone in the safe space, shutting the door. To prevent him from escaping, lock the door when you leave. Cats can be notorious escape artists, and a male will do anything to get to a female cat in heat.
Act normal when you see your female kitty. Too much fussing may give her the chance to smell the secluded cat's scent.
Spend time separately with the female and male cat, locking yourself in the safe space when it's time to see the latter. During your time together, cuddle or play with cat toys. This allows you to enjoy the company of both your cats without allowing the two to come together. Your females may get curious about what's behind the locked door -- and that's perfectly normal.
Continue this routine, observing your female kitty's behavior. If she acts frustrated and retaliates, she is not ready to meet the male kitty. If she goes about her normal routine, you can prepare to introduce the cats.
Use a pair of old socks to gather kitty scent from the male and female cats. Rub the sock along the kitty's face to get facial pheromones. Then take the sock from the secluded male kitty and show it to your female cat. Give the secluded kitty a sock with your resident female cat's pheromones. Allow the kitties time to adjust to the new smells on their own terms.
Brush your secluded male kitty with the brush you use on your resident female cat. To encourage the positive vibes, give the male kitty treats while you do this. Repeat the process in reverse by treating and brushing your female with the male kitty's scent on it. Do this for a few days to keep acclimating your pets.
Place the male kitty in his carrier in the safe space. With Kitty in the carrier, open the door and allow your female cats to come into the room and observe him. Some cats may hiss at this phase. If the females appear calm and quiet, you can let the secluded kitty out of the carrier. If the females act upset, leave Mr. Kitty in the carrier and repeat this step daily until every cat acts calm.
Give the cats the run of the house when you will be home to supervise. During the introductory period, place the male cat back in the safe space when you will not be home. Allow cats to mingle when you are home. When everyone's been fine for a few weeks, the male and female cats have been successfully introduced and can share the home space.
Items you will need
- Cat carrier
- Food dish
- Water dish
- Litter box
- Cat bedding
- Cat brush
- Cat treats
- If you've separated males from a female cat in heat, you can introduce the cats when her heat cycle has concluded with successful impregnation. Be aware that females in heat who have not been impregnated will experience additional heat cycles until they get pregnant. If you do not want to raise a litter, use the separation time to get your kitties fixed.
- If you prefer, keep your female kitty isolated in a safe space while Mr. Kitty has the run of the house.
- Good Cats, Bad Habits: The Complete A To Z Guide For When Your Cat Misbehaves; Alice Rhea
- Cat Vs. Cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat; Pam Johnson-Bennett
- 4Paws Rescue Team: Introducing Cats
- Small Animal Care and Management; Dean Marvin Warren
- Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
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