When you have two cats (or more) who aren’t getting along and all your attempts at behavior modification have been unsuccessful, it may be time to do a reintroduction. If the aggression between your cats is severe or if they can’t even be within sight of each other without an immediate brawl taking place, then a reintroduction is your best bet.
What is a Cat Reintroduction?
With a reintroduction you’re basically going to be separating the cats and introducing them in the same way you would if they had never met. The reintroduction gives each cat time to get back to normal and not be so stressed so you can start to help them gradually get comfortable with each other again.
Attempting to keep a lid on serious intercat aggression when the cats are constantly in each other’s sight can be very counterproductive because both cats remain at such a high level of reactivity. There’s also a good chance that one or both of the cats could get injured (perhaps severely). The reintroduction method gives you more control to avoid potential injury. It also allows you to keep the interaction between the cats at a level that doesn’t spark extreme reactions.
How Long Does a Cat Reintroduction Take?
This will be determined by how serious the aggression has been, how much time you can dedicate to doing the behavior modification, and how receptive the cats are. In other words, I wish I could give you a set timeline but you have to go at the cats’ pace. Every situation is unique.
The Cat Reintroduction Method
The first step is to separate the cats by creating a sanctuary room for one of them. If your house is set up in such a way that you can divide it up so each cat has her own territory, then that will do as well. If you’re setting up a sanctuary room, you just need a separate room that can be closed off. The room needs to be equipped with all the necessities such as food, water, litter box, scratching post, toys and some cozy napping places.