There is no denying that cats are straight up adorable. They're soft, cuddly, energetic, and full of the cutest quirks — who wouldn't want a house full of cats? And yet, being a parent to multiple cats is not as easy as it sounds. Simply introducing two cats to each other does not mean they will automatically get along. Here's how long it normally takes for cats to start getting along, and how you can help the process.
How long does it take for cats to get along?
The answer to this question depends entirely on the cat you have, according to Sara Ochoa, DVM, small animal and exotic veterinarian in Texas and veterinary consultant for DogLab. "Usually, it takes a few months for two new cats to start to tolerate each other living in the same house," Dr. Ochoa tells POPSUGAR.
When is the best time to introduce my cats to each other?
There might be no guarantee your older cat will get along with the younger one, but that is no reason to stall the initial meeting. When it comes to introducing your two furry babies to each other, sooner is always better. "Once your new cat is home and settled in their new environment, you can start to introduce your cats," Dr. Ochoa says.
If you know you're going to want two cats, it's probably easier to adopt them together as kittens, Russell Hartstein, certified dog/cat behaviorist, trainer, nutritionist, and founder of Fun Paw Care, tells POPSUGAR. That way, they'll learn and grow together and be less likely to experience a tough introductory period.
What are can I to do to help my cats get along?
According to Hartstein, cats are territorial animals and won't always welcome a new cat into their home. A crucial first introduction step is to make sure to separate the cats in different rooms. Gradually you can start to share the sounds and scents of each cat, and eventually to place each of the cats food bowls on the opposite side of a closed door that separates the two (so they're eating "across" from each other, if you will). If all these steps go well, you can separate the two cats with a baby gate, or start swapping them into each other's rooms. "In addition, it's a good idea to contact a cat behaviorist to help you introduce a new cat to a legacy cat for the best chance of having them get along," says Hartstein.
How can I tell if my cats are starting to get along?
Body language is crucial in telling whether or not your cats are getting along. "The last thing you want to do is force a cat to try to like another cat," says Hartstein. If you're struggling it's always a good idea to contact your vet for advice, too. And hopefully, you'll be on your way to furry BFFs in no time!