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

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.

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