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Introducing a new cat or kitten to your home is such an exciting time! Sometimes everything goes off without a hitch, and other times there can be a few hurdles.
These community members discuss breed compatibility, how many kittens to get, and of course, how to proceed with integration.
Here are our reader questions and answers regarding bringing home either an older cat or a new kitten.
You can also check out our step-by-step guide to the introduction process.
Table of Contents:
From our Community:
A Successful Introduction:
The tried and true method of introducing a new cat is to have a safe place for your new pet to acclimate.
Any room separate from the rest of the house and from current pets can serve as this sanctuary room. Your new cat's room will have his own litter box, food and water bowls and even some cozy hiding places.
It can be tempting to rush the first meeting to see how they react to one another, but a carefully planned introduction will be your best bet. If you are aiming for them to have a positive relationship, moving slowly is key.
Even in their separate locations, your established cat and new kitty will sense one another.
Let things progress at their own pace. Wait until everyone seems consistently at ease before they see each other for the first time.
During this time, it can be helpful to switch out their unwashed bedding. This helps you fully integrate your new kitty scent-wise.
The first interactions are exciting! Place a screen door or gate in the opening and allow the new and existing pets to see each other.
Keep a close eye out for warning signs such as a low growl, hissing, raised fur or lowered ears. If this occurs, close the door to the safe room and reward your pets with treats all around. You can try again tomorrow!
Once they are comfortable with visual contact and display calm behavior, start moving their food and water bowls closer to the gate, each on their own side.
Move them closer with each meal, as their cooperation and comfort allow. This is the time to offer treats and extra-special food! Once they are eating together, the next step is physical contact.
By now, they should be quite comfortable in each other's presence. With as little fanfare as possible, remove the physical barrier and let your new cat explore.
If all goes well, they may be a bit standoffish at first, then move on to coexisting, and possibly becoming friends!
If there are a few small spats at first, don't panic. These usually resolve quickly.
by: Colleen in Texas
Maine Coon Nation,
I'm so happy to have found your site!
We have a four-year-old female Maine Coon that we love very much, but she is a nervous kitty.
We have 2 daughters, ages 10 and 8. We are now interested in getting a guinea pig and another cat but are worried about how everyone will get along.
What do we do to help the process? How likely will it be that our resident cat will be unhappy and how likely is it that she will think of the guinea pig as prey?
I would really appreciate some advice.
Rani is a very pretty girl! It just so happens that we have a guinea pig at our house as well, so this is something I can answer with experience!
Getting another cat will rock her world much more than getting a guinea pig will. The piggy spends most of his time safe & sound in a cage or habitat.
You'll want to get an igloo or other house that he can hide in, inside his cage. It will be his safe space if he is spooked by the interest in him.
Yes, she very well may see the piggy as prey. I've seen YouTube videos of cats & guinea pigs as furry friends, but I wouldn't trust my Coonies.
Mostly they are too lazy to do anything, but you never know. Make sure that the cage is always closed and the piggy is always supervised.
One time, when I was holding our guinea pig on my lap, Alice slowly reached up and very delicately put a paw on him! She was looking right at me, and did it in such slow motion - it was so funny!
She just wanted to see what would happen. She was showing me that she knew she wasn't supposed to, but she really, really wanted to. It's hard to fight instinct!
As for introducing a new cat, you might want to do that separately, so Rani doesn't feel replaced or overwhelmed. You'll want to do the introductions slowly, since she's timid.
With care, they could become great friends. You may want to consider a boy, for balance. Boys are pretty laid-back, too.
Thanks for sharing your beautiful girl!
Hopefully more cat lovers will join in, too!
All The Best,
Adjusting to new households
My Maine Coon could care less about other cats and guinea pigs. Go ahead and adopt.
I would be more concerned about the guinea pig causing allergies in the children. While they sleep all day, they are active all night running on their wheel (squeak, squeak, squeak). I find long-haired hamsters more fun than pigs.
My personal choice would be a lovely, lively 8-week-old kitten.
Hope you find just what you are looking for.
Nervous Kitty in a New Environment
You could buy a Feliway Plug In. It will help with introducing a new cat - your current cat will chill out a bit so that a new pet will not phase her.
Also ignore the new cat for a while. A kitten would be best I think for her to accept.
Clyde & Capone
Although it may sound impossible, I share my loft with infamous bank robber Clyde Barrow and gangster Al Capone.
When I first brought Capone (my Maine Coon) home to the loft, Clyde (the guinea pig) was living in a large hutch, similar to that of a rabbit hutch.
I took a rabbit hutch liner (available at Tractor Supply Company) and fit a tray of plywood and trim around it. Then, I ran four corner poles and wrapped them with chicken wire.
At the top, I framed it out, and trimmed a piece of plywood to fit on the top, and wedges underneath to make it impossible to push off.
This is also good because small children will need an adult's help to get the guinea pig out in a careful manner, observing the cat's behavior.
Lastly, when Capone moved in, I took tongue and groove 7 inch siding and added a "guard rail" around the bottom to prevent Capone from being able to stand up and see eye-to-eye with the guinea pig.
This also prevented him from cutting his paws on the chicken wire. Capone is very active and likes to grab around the guard rails of the cage and Clyde will sometimes gently bite his foot!
I have had them on the ground together and Capone regards him with polite interest. However, they are never free to roam unattended. By having a safe boundary, they serve as good companions for each other.
Our other kitty, Leon (not a Maine Coon) has never even noticed the guinea pig, and he is a big time hunter!
I have a 7 yr old Maine Coon cat. He is a male. I have the lucky fortune of getting a 7 yr old female Maine Coon as well. Do you believe that they will mix well. Mine has been an only child.
Also, I have a problem with my cat throwing up hairballs. Have tried him on every food imaginable.
I brush him regularly but sometimes not getting all the loose hair out makes it worse. Could you recommend something, maybe a different type of food that will help him?
I have also tried some sort of stuff you get from the vet. It is like a salmon-flavored gel to put on his paws. This has not helped either.
I think you would be very happy with the addition of a new girl. My boy and girl are seven years old as well, and they are a nice compliment to each other.
I would recommend reading the related questions and answers on this page.
The best way to lay the groundwork for slow introductions is to have a separate room ready when introducing a new cat to the home.
A spare bedroom works well for this, but an office or even a laundry room or pantry can work in a pinch. She can get used to the new surroundings slowly, in her own time.
Initial Introductions - A Positive Experience:
They will sense each other on opposite sides of the door. When they seem comfortable with that, the next step is to try opening the door and placing a baby gate.
If there is no aggressive behavior, you can move on to giving them treats at the same time, in each other's presence, as positive reinforcement.
For more positive associations, try feeding them at the same time, each on their side of the door or gate. The amount of time it takes for them to acclimate can vary, but some cats adjust in as little as a week.
And for hairballs, that is a tough one. We do have a page all about cat hairballs, and more importantly a page all about hairball remedy options.
It discusses hairball control cat food, fiber, home remedies, and has some links to high-quality products. Maybe you will find something you haven't yet tried.
I'm not sure I can suggest a different food, since you've tried many already. Hairball control cat food generally has a high fiber content, to move hair through your kitty's system more quickly.
If that's not doing the trick, you may want to try the lubricating route. Putting it on his paws may not be quite enough.
Many Maine Coon owners have found success using olive oil as a supplement to their cats' diet. It lubricates and provides a nice shiny coat.
On another page, a visitor recommended olive oil. The cat owner who sent in the question found success with a product called Laxatone.
There are quite a few hairball products to choose from on Amazon.
You may also be interested in our similar visitor pages about coughing and hairballs.
All The Best,
(and let us know how it turns out if you get a new girl in your home!)
I decided to get a Maine Coon Kitty. I had a boy in the past and he was awesome! The breeder I am going to has twin red coon kitties that she does not want to separate.
Is it a good idea to get two kittens together so they can keep each other company?
You can go either way. We brought home our Alice and Leo together for the same reason.
Our breeder said they were bonded and that little Alice had a timid temperament which benefitted from the security of having her brother close.
He was absolutely right and it was definitely what was best for them.
They came from the same litter, and having each other made their transition so much easier. They are very bonded.
With that said, many folks choose to get just one, and that works out just fine too! If your breeder has the two she'd like to keep together, and if you are leaning toward getting siblings, you won't regret it.
They are so much fun when they tear the house apart :)
All the Best,
I'd vote for two
I have three Coons ages 3 (Marley), 10 (Elliot) and 13 (Arthur). When we got Elliot the integration took about 2 days and he and Arthur were best buds. Sadly this was not the case when we introduced Marley.
Arthur was fine; Elliot was a basket case. It took an entire year of hell to integrate Elliot and Marley.
We had to keep them apart when we were not around and Elliot got so stressed he started having issues like feline acne, diarrhea, and more. We feel it had more to do with Elliot's personality than his age.
Marley survived just fine and learned how to read Elliot's mood and keep out of his way quickly.
They still have issues sometimes but all of Elliot's stress symptoms are gone. Because of this we will not introduce another cat into the house until Elliot goes over the Rainbow Bridge and that, we hope, won't be for a very long time.
I vote two ...
by: Kim Sweet
I just adopted our third Maine Coon after losing MY King Lewie back in Nov, (all four have profiles here). The first one was Ivan, a stinker who would not leave our older mix female alone.
He wanted to play and she was not up for that at all. So we decided to adopted Makani who is only a month older then Ivan.
The two of them became partners in crime and Autumn was safe again. Then about a week ago I ran across Taz on Craigs list thanks to a friend. Now the three boys, Makani, Ivan and Taz are like the three amigos.
Taz is only 12 weeks old now, and has been in 4 different homes already so I was happy to see Ivan and Makani take to him so well right off the bat.
We really enjoy watching them all play and chase each other around the house and bond as brothers. We have been very lucky to run across our boys when we did and wouldn't change a thing.
HAVE FUN :)
Are You Sure?
Felines are only litter mates, not real twins. If the breeder was willing to take the price of one kitten and you take two, that is one thing. If she wants you to pay for both, I would question her motives about separating them.
My experience with introducing a new cat
Two cats are always good for company for each other.
I found feline rescue remedy to work wonders with one of my Maine Coons that didn't like the other.
I have seen my Maine Coon cats shed their fur in the spring.
I winter they have the big fur mane all around their neck and then come spring you will start to see patches of fur missing, then they look like they got a haircut. When the cold weather comes around it grows back.
by: Simon in Slovenia
I would like to buy two kittens (Maine Coon) - one male and one female. They will be castrated.
Is it better if they are from the same litter or is it better if they are from different litters?
Thank you for your answer,
Great choice to get two little ones! Seven years ago, we welcomed Alice and Leo into our family. They are siblings from the same litter, and it worked out beautifully.
We had Leo neutered and Alice spayed when they were about six months old. You are right, this is a must-do, especially when you have a girl and a boy.
Here are my thoughts:
Same litter: This is easier when it's possible. The kittens are already bonded, and when they come home to you they will have the comfort of each other. It will make the transition even easier.
I think if you have this option, with a brother and sister from the same litter, you should go for it!
Different Litter: Yes, you can absolutely do it, and be very successful. The kittens, being young and adaptable, will become friends very quickly.
If you have your heart set on a boy and a girl but you can't find both in the same litter, available at the same time, go ahead and mix-and-match!
Maine Coon kittens are fun, free-spirited, sweet and loving. You'll do great with whatever you choose, and introducing the kittens should go smoothly.
All The Best,
Cats don't follow human morals. If they like each other, they will bond.
by: Roxanne in Tucson, AZ
I currently have 3 female spayed domestic short-hair cats at home. Maxie is 15 years old and Tracy and Ruby are 8 years old.
In November 2009, I lost my beautiful 21 year old calico Molly. All my cats have always been indoors as I live in Arizona and with the wild life here, it is not safe for a cat to be outdoors.
"Hank", the Maine Coon at the shelter came to them as a stray. I think he was more abandoned because he weighs 32 pounds! He is very lovable and I have visited him twice now.
His temperament seemed very sweet on my first visit. When I stopped by today, the shelter gave him a new neighbor in the kennel below (a male domestic short-hair), and he displayed some signs of aggression by hissing.
Would Hank be good mix with my 3 female cats?
I have read that they are really docile and compatible with other pets. Are there any tell tale signs I can look for on my next visit that will show me his personality?
I just love Hank, but want to make sure he will be a good fit.
First, I'm sorry to hear about Molly. You must have had quite a bond with her. 21 years old, you are doing something right at your house :)
Hank sounds simply awesome! Wow, 32 pounds! You put a smile on my face right away when I saw this was about adoption! Totally cool name, too!
About the fit. First, since he is a boy and you have girls that's a good start. And, when he hissed at the new neighbor you mentioned that it was another male he had just met.
It seems like that's an indicator that he was just uptight.
This is how I like to think about the behavior of shelter cats:
We have our beloved pets at home who we know so well. Loving, friendly, etc. But when we take them to the vet, they become totally different.
We have to peel them out of their carrier, and they are just not themselves. They won't be themselves until they get back home.
I think it's the same with Hank. He just can't be himself, he can't let his guard down until he gets home - or, knows he's home! Poor guy doesn't understand!
On a positive note, I do think that, based on what you've shared, he'd fit in fine with Maxie, Tracy & Ruby. (I wish I could guarantee it!)
It sounds like you are an experienced cat owner & you know how to introduce a new cat slowly, keeping an eye out for signs of stress, etc.
He'll be on guard at first, and shouldn't be exposed to the girls until he's really secure (purring all the time).
Everyone is spayed/neutered, so there really shouldn't be any competition. They may never be best friends, and might always be standoffish when they are physically close, but that's ok. Then again, they may become close buddies.
On your next visit, if Hank enjoys a snuggle and actually purrs for you, that means he has no problem letting his guard down. It's a clue into his nature.
Good luck, Maybe you can update us later on?
I so hope this works out for you!
Male Coon loved short-hair companion
I had three adult cats ranging from 3 to 10 years old when I adopted a black male Coon Cat. He got along great with two of my cats and tolerated the third.
As soon as he saw my 10 year-old grey short hair, it was love at first sight and they lived a cozy life together.
If the Coon is male and friendly, there's a very good chance they will get along and become best buddies.
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