Cats are independent, but can be social too! The trick to helping kitties become friends is to make sure there is plenty of space for everyone, including escape routes and hiding places. Use vertical spaces such as shelves or under tables, as well as creative niches such as blankets draped over the arms of sofas or chairs, closets, empty cardboard boxes and baskets. Anywhere a cat can be out of sight, without getting cornered, will allow a bigger sense of safety and opportunity to remove themselves from another cat. Plus, if the other kitty finds them, it can become a playful game of hide and seek. If one of the cats is not yet up for play, then they can exit before the other comes too close.
Pheromone spray such as Feliway mimics the scents that cats naturally exude from their cheek and paw glands when they are happy. These tend to have a calming effect on cats. You can approximate this product by rubbing your cat's cheeks gently, particularly with a soft piece of fabric or sock, and leave the cloth where the other cat will be able to take a sniff of it and explore it in their own time.
Interactive play such as gentle chase, ball in a round tube, or leather string toy, or crinkly balls can be so difficult to resist that both cats will want in on the action. Eventually they'll look to play with each other. If ears are pressed on a cat, they are asking for more space, be sure to watch and listen to body language if trying to introduce new friends. Most cats have a healthy respect for listening to these cues, but some are just not interested in being respectful. Again, have safe escape routes for everyone when attempting new introductions.
Flower essences that help adjust playfulness, anxiety, sense of safety, and openness are available that can be useful adjuncts of enhancing socialization. There are also herbs and acupuncture techniques for helping reduce cortisol/stress, and enhance the "good mood" hormones in pets. Schedule an appointment with us if you'd like to try to help your pets feel more social. Everyone benefits from having friends and playtime on a regular basis. The benefits are truly holistic, in that watching cats play with each other is absolutely heart opening and joyfulness bringing.
If you are interested in more or have any questions, please feel free to send us an email or give us a call!