Tips on how to introduce a New Pet into a Home with Cats
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Bringing a Cat into a Household that already has other Pets
When introducing a cat into your household that has other
pets it is important to understand that your pets may not
mesh. Don't expect them to get along, be pleasantly
surprised if they do.
Typically the younger a cat is the more accepting it is of
change, so the younger the new cat is the better. And not
all cats are sociable, so if the cat has a problem with
strangers it probably will not accept other pets quickly.
Cats are territorial animals. A cat, especially a cat that
has lived without other pets in the household, may not much
like having even another cat in its territory, much less
other species of pets. This is especially true if the cat is
a mature, unspayed male cat. Female cats that have recently
had kittens can be just as bad as unspayed male cats as far
as territory goes. If a cat doesn't learn early to share its
territory, it may never learn to.
If you want to introduce a cat into your household with
other pets and have a happy ending, then you must take
things slowly. Never just put a new cat into the middle of
the floor with all the other animals. You need to separate
the cat into its own room and keep it away from the other
pets for a while. Get the new comfortable with the space and
household odors, and the resident pets used to the new cat's
smell, and then gradually introduce the cat to the other
In the case of a cat with animals like hamsters, gerbils,
mice, rats, rabbits,
fish, or birds you should not just
expect your cat to get along with them. A cat considers
these animals to be PREY. In the wild cats eat these
animals, and expecting your cat to be friends with what it
considers to be food is a bit unrealistic. This is not to
say that your cat and an animal from these small species
cannot get along, just don't demand or automatically expect
it. If it ever happens you have a very mellow cat that is
well fed and some luck.
Understanding your cat's behavior goes a long way in the
determination of whether your cat will ever accept other
animals, even other cats! Once you have lived with your cat
for a while you will start to understand its temperament and
whether it is likely to accept other animals or not.
When you do try an introduction, you must watch your cat's
reactions and be prepared to separate the animals right away
if you need to, before one or the other attacks. If you are
trying to get your animals to be friends with each other you
never want an attack to happen, this will set back any
introductions for weeks or months.
You must be patient with your pets for this process to work.
If the pets understand that you want them to be friends the
process will happen more quickly. If you are nervous,
uptight or tense while introducing your pets to one another
it will translate to them as a tense or bad situation. You
must be calm and ready, not tense and expecting the worst.
And above all, you must be patient.
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