So your roommate has finally decided to adopt a kitten—but you’re not so sure how your older cat is going to react to the new addition. Or maybe you already have a cat and have decided to expand your furry family. Whatever the circumstances,  introducing a second cat into a small apartment can be tricky sometimes. 

Having a cat is a great way to decrease stress and loneliness, especially if you live on your own. Double the cats means double the cuteness and love, but there are logistical concerns to keep in mind as you introduce cats to each other, especially in a small space. 

How To Introduce Cats In A Small Apartment

There are a few steps you can take before bringing a new cat home for the first time that will help make everyone more comfortable. It will take time for your new cat to adjust and for your existing cat to warm up to their new friend. Keep these things in mind as you introduce cats to each other in a small space

Prep The Area Before Little Nala Comes Home

It’s important to have a safe, quiet space ready when bringing a new cat home for the first time. Create a designated area for your new cat with soft blankets they can sleep on, access to their own food and water supply and their own litter box. It isn’t a good idea for them to share with the cat(s) you already have at first. It can also be very helpful to have toys and a scratching post on hand, as your cat might have an abundance of energy if they are being confined to a small space for the first few days.

Keep your existing cat away from this designated area. Ideally, the designated area for your new cat should be a place that your other cat doesn’t spend much time in to begin with. 

Don’t worry if your new cat wants to hide once they are in the new space. As long as they have access to everything they need, they will start to warm up to your apartment. 

Separate The Cats Initially

Settling into a new home is stressful for any cat, regardless of how easygoing they are. Meeting another cat on top of that can make things too overwhelming, so you’ll want to keep them separate for a few days when you’re introducing a second cat to a small apartment. Don’t worry though, their strong sense of smell will let both parties know they aren’t the only cat in town. 

Putting your new cat in a contained space like a spare closet, bathroom, bedroom or office is ideal. However, you may not have the luxury of extra space if you are in a very small apartment. If this is the case, don’t worry—there are still ways you can separate your cats to make the introduction process as comfortable as possible for both of them.  

The easiest way to do this is by gating off a certain area or putting one cat in a large dog crate. If you use this approach, just make sure that the cats can’t accidentally climb in and out, and that your new cat still has enough room to move around comfortably. 

Slowly Allow For More Interaction

Because cats are so sensitive to smells, they will figure out pretty quickly that there is another cat in the apartment. As your new cat gets acclimated to your apartment, you can slowly allow for more interaction. 

  1. Start by taking a blanket or pillow from each cat’s bed and swapping them so they can smell each other.
  2. Then, place the cats in each other’s designated area for a short period of time so they can smell each other without actually seeing each other. 
  3. Once the cats are familiar with each other’s scents, introduce them to each other through a door or gate. 

This gives them a chance to interact while keeping them safe. You may have to do this several times before your cats get comfortable with each other. Take things slowly and don’t force more interaction than they are ready for. 

Pro tip: having introductions during feeding time may help reinforce positive associations between cats. Once your two cats can tolerate being around each other, try some shared meals. 

Special Considerations For Cats and Small Spaces

Cats are very territorial, so you might find that they have a difficult time sharing small spaces. This is why it is so important for each cat to have their own designated beds. 

Cats like to climb, so consider getting a cat tree or cat-safe shelves for them. This gives them more space to explore without taking up a ton of floor space in a small apartment. It’s also important to be mindful of the noise level in your apartment during this introduction period. 

Find Cat-Friendly Apartments With Southern Management

If you’re looking for a cat-friendly apartment in the Washington, D.C. or Baltimore metropolitan areas, Southern Management can help. We have an excellent selection of properties in this area, many of which are pet-friendly. Contact us today to learn more about our apartment rentals—we can’t wait to welcome you and your furry babies home!