The new furkid on the block

Introducing a new pet to the resident cat or dog can be challenging. Here's how to make it an easy transition.
By Pets Team
Published on Tuesday, 09 December 2014

Life with a pet was good. Nothing beats fussing over your spoilt only furkid and participating in pet-centric activities over the weekend. Then you decide that it is time to spice it up by introducing another furry family member. As if deciding which animal to adopt or get isn’t tough enough, assimilating the new pet can be a huge challenge as well. It is impossible to predict if the new addition will become fast friends with your existing furkid. More importantly, starting off on the wrong foot can result in repercussions that take time and effort to resolve. Hence, a proper introduction to the resident pet is essential and should be taken seriously.

Here are some guidelines to help your family with the transition.

A doggy warm up fIrst

Dogs are generally sociable animals and love the company of other canines. Despite that, a resident pet may not be accustomed to having other animals in his territory or appreciate having to share the owner’s attention. Prior to bringing the new pup home, remove anything that could be a source of conflict, such as toys, food bowls or rawhides. In addition, declutter the living space as congested areas may cause dogs to feel forced upon each other and are more likely to trigger aggressive reactions.

Start the first introduction on neutral grounds, such as an outdoor area with plenty of space for the canines to move around, and keep it positive and light-hearted. Supervise the interaction and address any undesirable behaviours like stiffening, prolonged staring or any other threats immediately. Allow them to sniff each other and give praise for a nice greeting. After they have met, bring them for a walk together. Once they seem fine with each other, you are ready to take them home.

Always give each pet his own water and food bowls, beds and toys. Likewise, feed them at separate areas and pick up their bowls when they are done. Supervise their interaction until they have been friendly with each other for a couple of weeks. Make effort to reward good behavior with treats and to provide both furkids with plenty of guidance and supervision to ensure that sibling rivalry does not occur.

While having two dogs that get along can help tire each other out, it is very important for you to continue to spend time with each of them. This allows Fido to receive one-on-one attention from you and also gives you the opportunity to develop a bond with the new pup. 

BrIng home a new kitty to Puss

Unlike dogs, cats are territorial and dislike change. They tend to hunt and scavenge for food alone in the wild and do not actively seek out contact with other felines. Hence, it is not surprising that it is going to be a huge challenge to introduce a new kitty into an established cat’s territory. Do not expect to be able to let the two felines meet the first day you bring the new addition home. A slow introduction is required for the two furkids to get used to each other before a face-to-face meeting.

It would be best to pick a cat with a similar personality and activity level. Prepare a small room that is equipped with necessities such as litter box, water bowl, scratching post, toys and a bed. Confine the newcomer in that space to allow him to adjust to you and the new environment. Spend time alone with her. It is essential that your new addition feels secure in her new territory and has bonded with you before meeting your resident pet. Eventually, you can switch the cats’ locations for them to explore and investigate the scent of the other pet.

Once the new cat has settled in, you can allow them to spend time getting to know each other from a distance. When the felines notice each other,say their names and reward them with treats. Continue to do this for the next couple of days. Bear in mind that the new cat has to be isolated from Puss until the two of them can get along.

When the cats have developed a sense of familiarity and are at ease in each other’s presence, release the newcomer and let them sniff each other physically. Always be ready to separate them immediately if either one starts to hiss and show signs of aggression. You need to continue doing this till they grow fond of each other.

Do not leave them together unsupervised until you are confident that they are happy in the environment and have accepted each other. The period of introduction and adjustment varies from cat to cat and may take weeks or even months. Be patient and take your time.