Adoption diary: Adding a cat to a family with an existing cat

“This is my house — get out!”

Although you weren’t really looking, you were at the local shelter and instantly fell in love with a cat who was available for adoption. As the saying goes, you didn’t pick her — she picked you. One problem: You already have a cat at home and are unsure of how he or she will react to the new addition.

What follows is a diary of introducing a new cat into a household with an existing cat. It wasn’t always smooth sailing, and at times we had our doubts the two felines could ever co-exist in the same space, but everything worked out. Sometimes we followed the guidelines provided by the shelter, other times we used trial-and error. Above all, patience was a key requirement.

Note: This is a running narrative and is not meant to be a definitive “how-to” guide.

Information on the two cats:

Resident Cat (RC):
A spayed female American Shorthair cat, approximately 1.5 years old. The cat was adopted from a shelter in September, 2012, with little available background information. Primarily an indoor cat, she is occasionally let out on a fenced-in back patio.

New Cat (NC):
A spayed female Snowshoe mix, approximately 6 months old. She was surrendered to a shelter with a male sibling (it was suggested she and her brother be adopted together), but he was adopted hours before we took her in early March, 2013.

Click on any of the following links to take a look at that week’s events: