If you love being a cat owner, you will likely consider adopting another cat. Whether you want to give another cat a loving home or want to give your cat a friend, there are plenty of reasons why getting another cat is a good idea. Cats are sociable creatures and can enjoy the company of others, but sometimes it can be hard to acclimate a new cat into your home.

Depending on the personalities of you cats, they may get along after only a few hours or you may have to facilitate their interactions to avoid any fights. Don’t be surprised if your two kitties don’t get along right away. Your introduction should be gradual, it can take anywhere from 8 to 12 months for a cat to form a friendship with another cat. That being said, use the following tips to make the first interaction between your cats a step in the right direction.

Step One: Selecting a Cat 

If you do decide to get a second (or third) cat, there are some factors you may want to take into consideration. Although there is no way of accurately predicting whether or not your new and old cats will get along, there are a few general rules of thumb. If you are thinking about getting a kitten with an older cat in the house, think about getting two. The two kittens will be able to play with one another, while the older cat warms up to the new additions.

In addition, do your best to match personalities. If your long-term cat resident is more laid back, avoid bringing a new cat home that is aggressive and full of energy. Having similar personalities will help your cats create a bond faster.

Step Two: Keep Them Separate 

Instead of letting your new cat roam your house freely, set up a separate room filled with food, water, a litter box, toys a bed, etc. Having your cats in separate rooms will allow your cats to smell and hear each other. You may experience some hissing through the closed door, but that is a normal occurrence, especially as they begin to acknowledge each other’s existence.

During this time you may also want to introduce your cats’ scents to one another. You can do this by gently rubbing your cats’ faces with a towel and letting each cat spend some time smelling the towel.

Step Three: The First Introduction 

After your new and old cats have smelled and heard one another, it is time for them to see each other. I recommend using a baby gate or screen that can keep them from getting into a fight.

Step Four: Allow Supervised Interaction 

When you think you cats are ready, allow them to interact while you supervise. Keep a spray bottle on hand in case an altercation takes place. The best time for your cats to interact with one another is when they are calm, like after a meal or after playtime. As your cats become more and more acquainted, allow them to spend longer periods of time together. Over the course of a couple weeks, your cats will begin to tolerate each other and soon form a bond.