How to temporarily house two cats that don’t know each other?

by Laura Connolly
(Manchester, NH, USA)

Zoey Napping

Zoey Napping

Zoey Napping
Jack Napping

I grew up in a very small condo with two bedrooms, a den and an open concept first floor. My family has a cat named Jack that is now ~11 to 12 years old and has never interacted with other cats other than his siblings before we adopted him at 8 weeks (we got him when I was in 5th grade).


I am now a senior in college and I have since adopted a cat of my own named Zoey. She is currently 12 weeks old and has been very well socialized with all kinds of animals.

When we go to the vet, she actually likes to interact with the other animals and tends to have a calming effect on them.

My issue currently is that this year I will be going home for Thanksgiving (~4 days), and Christmas (~20 days), and Zoey has to come with me as unattended animals cannot be left on campus, even with a sitter.

I would just keep Zoey in my bedroom with me, but my bedroom is Jack’s home base (he yowls when the door is closed) and my mom’s bedroom is out of the question because she is allergic.

The den is VERY small and I don’t want to keep Zoey trapped in there. What should I do? I want to cause the least amount of stress to both of them and make the best of the situation. Thanks in advance!

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Positive Reinforcement
by: Dominique

Separate spaces like Kurt said is ideal, and to slowly introduce them. When I introduced my second cat, we used feeding times at the time they would have close interaction the first day or two. We started with feeding both in separate rooms, but with the door open a little and the bowls by the door so they can get use to each other, but also know that this is a good thing because they are getting food during this process. Then we did same room but opposite sides of the room. Slowly but surely they got use to each other and are now the best of friends and dont leave each others sides. Just keep in mind that a new cat is coming into your parents cats territory so with that said, try not disrupting your parents cats domain too much or he/she might get more pissed. If there is a place he/she normally likes to go, I would keep the little one away from it in the beginning.
Hope this helps.

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Separate rooms are ideal
by: Kurt (Admin)

Ideally, you'd want to keep the cats in separate rooms at first, so you can do a slow introduction. Perhaps you could stay in the den with Zoey while you do the introductions over several days.

If separate rooms aren't possible, you could temporarily confine Zoey to a large cage, and allow the two cats to get used to each other that way. That would be a smaller space for her than the den, though.

Another option would be a boarding facility.

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