Before you bring the new member of the family back, you need to consider how you’re going to introduce them to the other pets in your household.
Whether it’s two dogs you’re bringing together, or you’re trying to defy the stereotype of cats and dogs being enemies, there are certain things you should and shouldn’t do in both circumstances to ensure a happy household.
Make sure the house is quiet and there are no other distractions, such as visitors, when you introduce the pets.
Get your new pet used to the scent of its new home by swapping the bedding of the pets, or stroking them separately without washing your hands in between.
Before bringing a new cat into a family which already includes a cat, think carefully about the personality of the cat already in the household and how it will cope with sharing its space with another cat. If you decide a new cat will fit into your home, make sure to keep them in a separate room for at least a week while doing the scent swapping as often as possible.
This will depend on the type of animals you are introducing to each other.
When a cat and dog are meeting:
When two dogs are meeting:
When two cats are meeting:
The first time you introduce the pets to each other, make sure to give both animals an equal amount of attention and reassure both of them regularly.
Keep dogs on a lead so you can control their actions and keep them calm around cats. Make sure to keep the leads loose, as dogs may sense your anxiety when they feel tension on the lead, which will make their behaviour worse. Encourage their calm behaviour by rewarding it with treats.
It’s best to introduce the pets at a time where they’re most calm, for example after exercise when they’re tired. Remove the dog from the room if they do become too excited, as this can frighten cats and make them hide away.
Once the animals start to become friends, begin to move their meetings away from restricted areas and into other rooms in your home. Choose a room where the cat is still able to hide behind furniture or jump to a higher place if they begin to feel threatened again.
Make sure you continue to introduce them gradually. Don’t rush the process or it may hinder their friendship in the long term. Continue to keep dogs on a lead until you’re certain they get along well with your other pet.
You can then continue to introduce your pets to new rooms until they’re comfortable with each other around the whole house. Only leave them together once you’re certain it’s safe for both of them.
Make sure they each have enough toys each to play with, to avoid battles for the toys.
If the pet already in your family is elderly, make sure they’re given enough time and space away from the youngster so they don’t get exhausted by their younger playmate.
Things to consider
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