Cat Training and Behavior (Domestic and Feral)/Merging 2 cats - male and female
I'm going to be moving in with girlfriend and need to know the best way to introduce our two cats. She has a female cat who is 9 years old and is the only pet and I have a 1 1/2 year old male cat that is the only pet in my place. We have about 2 months before we move with each other so we are wondering if there are steps we should be taking to insure a successful merger. The house is fairly spacious so roominess shouldn't be an issue. Her cat is pretty mild while mine is more kitten like with being playful and meowing a lot when I come home. Neither cat has really never been around any other cats to this point.
Can you please lend us some advise?
The hard part is no matter how they are at home right now, there is no way to know how they will act once the move begins as each cat is different.
I would start with making a temporary seclusion for your cat; with a litter box, food and water and a bed for a few days until the newness of the situation wears off. This is allow the cats to be able to sniff each other from under the door and get acclimated before the actual meeting begins. Anticipate hissing, growling or even hiding from one if not both cats. The important part to remember is to maintain normalcy in the house (even though it really won't be normal for a bit.) And don't over-spoil either of the cats or they may start to really think something is up. And it is her cat's territory, so keep that in mind as well.
For the actual introduction, I would find a large area with not much in it so the cats can't get hurt. Incorporate favorite foods into the meeting as a mediator. Get her cat comfortable first and as soon as she is eating peacefully, bring in your cat as far as possible from her with his own dish. Do not expect this to go perfectly the first time, so if it does, then great! But as soon as both cats are eating peacefully, gradually begin to move the dishes closer together until they are eating side-by-side. This process it to show them both that they can live peaceful in the household and there shouldn't be anything to be jealous or angry about.