Bringing your Pet Home

dogandcatinloveIntroducing Your Pet

Your pet will eventually become a comfortable member of your family. But this may not happen right away. If you have children or other pets, you’ll want to introduce her to them gradually and start in a safe room. Safe rooms not only promote a way to bond with your pet but instead when you Pet gets scared it will always go back to their safe room instead of running outside.

 

 Meeting the Kids

Children must understand that your pet is a sensitive, living creature. If she’s frightened, she may resort to scratching or biting to protect herself, so it’s important she is handled gently. Younger children might be inclined to pull her tail or ears, squeeze and poke her like a toy, or make loud noises around her. Teach them not to do these things right away.

 Meeting the Pets

You view your pet as a great new companion for your other pets. But they might view her as a threat, so introduce them with caution and care. Make the initial introduction short and sweet, removing the pet after a few minutes. An older cat will likely accept the newcomer and eventually help take care of her. However, until this happens, you should avoid leaving them alone together. Most dogs and cats get along, though it may take a little longer. Monitor their playtime to avoid scuffles, hissing, or barking, until they become good friends.

How do you successfully introduce a new cat into your household if you already have other pets? As cats can be territorial creatures, bringing a new pet home to meet Fido or Fluffy can be a hair-raising experience for not only the owner but also the resident pets if not handled correctly. A peaceful relationship between new and existing feline or canine housemates requires time, patience and work. The introduction process generally takes a few weeks before the pets are all cohabitating peacefully. At times, though, it can take several weeks. The trick is to do it slowly and cautiously…and follow the guidelines below.

  • Isolate the new cat in a separate  “Safe Room” that is closed off from the other pets (make sure the door is securely shut and doesn’t open easily). This smaller, confined area will help the new cat to  feel safe and adjust more quickly to his/her new home. Provide a litter box, scratching post, toys, food, and water in the new cat’s room. This separation will also give your current pets time to get used to the new cat’s smell and the idea of having a new occupant in the house. During the first week, the only interaction that your new cat and resident cats should have is playing paws under the door.
  • Remember, cats like routine, not change Your resident cats’ behaviour may initially change when you first bring the new cat home. Most common is hissing, growling, hiding or fighting among resident pets. Your current cats may even act differently toward you by displaying aggression or ignoring you all together. With your new cat in  his/her “safe room” the new and resident cats will all have the opportunity to become familiar with each others’ scents while safely separated by a door. As they begin to acclimate to each other, the cats will feel less threatened and, with time, the negative behaviour should      dissipate.
  • Always introduce a new cat to the resident cats before introducing him to the resident dog(s). In most cases, the cat to cat introductions will be more harried, with the cat to dog introductions being somewhat easier.

Introducing Cats

  • The new cat and resident cats should have no face-to-face interaction for the first week. This will allow the new cat time to get comfortable with his/her new environment and family. The stress of a new environment can cause a cat to show signs of an upper respiratory infection (watch for sneezing, eye or  nose discharge) or diarrhea. Watch to make sure that the new cat is eating  well, drinking and using the litter box. In almost every case, a cat that does not use his/her litter box is suffering from a medical condition. Any instance of inappropriate elimination (outside of the litter box) should      be followed up with a visit to the vet.
  • After keeping the new cat in a  room of his/her own for the first week, start introducing the smells of each cat to the other. You can do this by brushing all of the cats with the same brush to get their scents on each other. Also, try feeding them each a special treat on either side of the door. Doing so will help each cat to associate the smell of the other cat with the positive      experience of eating the treat (usually wet food works best). You may want      to have your resident cats go into the new cat’s room (and visa versa)      when he/she is not there to help them get acclimated to his/her scent.
  • After introducing smells for a few days,  when you are ready for the first face-to-face introduction, put the new cat in his/her carrier and let the resident cats come into the “safe room.” This will give you an opportunity to observe the interaction among the cats while the new cat is protected in his/her carrier.
  • Usually with this initial meeting there will be some hissing and/or posturing. If the interaction  seems as though it could lead to aggression, you will need to do this controlled introduction using the carrier a few more times before removing  the barriers and allowing the cats to meet face-to-face. If the cats all appear to be curious or simply wary with no outward signs of aggression,  then you can open the carrier door and let the new cat walk out into the territory of the resident cats. Do not rush this process. It is      very important to the long-term harmony of their relationship that the      introduction process proceed at a pace comfortable for each of the cats.
  • Monitor all interactions closely during the first weeks. Do not leave the cats alone unsupervised until you are comfortable that there will not be aggressive behaviour displayed by any of the cats. During the first few weeks, the new cat should stay in his/her “safe room” when no one is home to      supervise.
  • If interaction among the cats deteriorates instead of improving, return the new cat to his/her “safe  room.” At this point you will need to start the introduction process again, this time, taking more time at each stage.

Introducing a Cat and Dog

  • When you bring a new cat into your house, you need to set up a “safe room” where the cat can stay for at least the first week. The room chosen must have a door and should be in a quiet part of the house. You will need to provide access to food, water, litter box, and scratching post at all times (see first bullet point above for more details). If you have cats as well as dogs in your home, the cats should have already been successfully introduced to the newcomer before initiating introduction of the new cat to your dogs.
  • There should be no face-to-face interactions between the new cat and resident dog for the  first week. Bring the cat into the house in his/her carrier and take him/her directly to his/her “safe room.”
  • Don’t introduce the cat to any other pets until he/she has settled in and seems to be comfortable with the human members of the household. This comfort will be evidenced by the cat becoming interactive with you when you enter his/her “safe room”.  Many cats will initially hide for a couple of days when brought to a new home, but will soon become comfortable if given time and space.
  • When your new cat seems to be comfortable with you, it is time to start the introductions with your dog. During these introductions, the dog should always be crated or on leash, allowing the cat to approach the dog on his/her own terms. This may well be the first time that the cat is outside of his/her “safe room”.  Allow him/her to explore at his/her own pace and approach the dog if he/she is comfortable doing so.  All introductions should be supervised and conducted during quiet times of  the day.
  • Carefully watch the first contact between cat and dog. Let them sniff each other. Be ready with a towel or  squirt gun in case of any aggressive behavior. The situation should be fairly well controlled, though, because the dog will be confined in his/her crate or on a leash. If either animal displays aggressive or fearful behaviour, separate them immediately. Try again later (possibly  the next day) after things have calmed down.
  • If the initial meeting goes well, you will still want to repeat the encounter several times under controlled circumstances before letting the animals roam freely in the house or leaving them together unsupervised.
  • If your new cat is a small pet, take  special precautions whenever the cat and dog are together. A large dog may not intend to harm a pet, he simply may not know his/her own strength or understand the fragility of a young pet.
  • Be sensitive to the fact that some dog breeds are naturally not good at cohabitating with cats—certain breeds may instinctually be driven to chase or act aggressively toward a cat. You will need to evaluate your pet’s personality and determine if he  is an exception to the general rule for his/her breed. Take extra time and  care when introducing the two animals—always under close supervision. Be aware that your dog may behave better when you are present, so allow ample  time for supervised interactions before letting them be alone together.

Tips to Encourage or Maintain Harmony

  • To speed acceptance of a new cat, after following the above introduction processes, try feeding the cats at  opposite ends of room. Gradually, over time, move the food bowls closer together. After feeding them side-by-side for a week, the cats should be  ready to roam through out the house freely.
  • Add a few drops of Bach Flower  Remedies to each water bowl. Add additional drops as needed when the water  is changed or replenished. This is a homeopathic treatment that will not have any affect on those pets that drink the treated water if they are not displaying the targeted behaviour. You can purchase Bach Flower Remedies in different “flavours” at Whole Foods Stores and most health food stores.
  • “Holly” helps to quell anger
  • “Rock Water” works well with overly dominant animals
  • “Vine” helps to calm a bully
  • “Walnut” helps adjust to change
  • “Willow” addresses any feelings of resentment
  • Provide plenty of safe;  comfortable sleeping/nesting places if you have several pets…cats  especially need their space. They are not as social as dogs and often prefer isolation at times.
  • Keep the cats food in a location out of the dogs reach—either up on a counter or ledge or in an area that is barricaded so that the dog cannot enter.
  • Maintain separate litter boxes  (they eventually may share). The general rule is one litter box for each cat plus one.
  • Make sure litter boxes are placed in quiet, easily accessible locations that do not present opportunities  for a cat to be cornered by other pets. While litter boxes should be accessible to the cats, they should be out of reach of any resident dogs.

Things to Buy for you New Pet (Pet/Cat)

You’ll want to have certain essential supplies on hand before bringing your pet home. That way you two will have more time to bond. Some things you’ll need to welcome your new friend include:

  • Carrier
  • Food  & Water Bowls
  • Bed
  • Litter Box (for Cats/Pets)
  • Litter (We do not recommend scented litter as it may be to strong for the animal or Pine as it may causes upper respiratory)
  • Scratching Post
  • Collar, Harness & Leash
  • Grooming  Supplies
  • Toys

Litter Box

** We do not recommend scented litter as it may be to strong for the animal or Pine as it may causes upper respiratory

Your pet/Cat will need a litter box, even if you expect her/him to eventually relieve herself outdoors or your Pet will start to spray. Make sure the box is roomy to prevent her from scattering litter around the house. You’ll also need to buy cat box filler and a scoop or strainer to remove litter that’s been soiled. To protect yourself against bacteria when cleaning your litter box, wear gloves and always wash your hands. Pregnant women should be especially careful to avoid bacteria, so letting a non-pregnant family member change the litter box is your best bet. A clean litter box prevents worms and other diseases. Remember a litter box is their toilet and I am sure you would prefer a clean toilet.

Bed

Your pet/Cat will need a comfortable place to sleep. Choose an area that’s clean, quiet, and warm. Start out with a roomy cardboard box. Cut out a doorway and line the bottom with cushions and soft, washable material. You can try adding a piece of your clothing, to comfort her with a familiar scent. Just don’t be disappointed if she doesn’t take to her accommodations right away. Changing the bed’s location or adding an extra cushion may help her come around.

Scratching Post

A scratching post is where your pet/Cat will stretch her body, clean away dead scales from her nails and mark her territory (both visually and with her scent). You’ll want to get a scratching post right away and train your pet early so she doesn’t use your furniture instead! Try to place your pets bed and scratching post close together so she learns to use it when she first wakes up and needs a stretch.

Collar, Harness, & Leash

A cat harness or leash can be a great training tool for your pet, though they’re not a must. If you’re already thinking along these lines, a harness is probably best, as pets often dislike the feeling of a leash. Do, however, make sure your pet always wears a collar made of lightweight material as well as an identification tag. Have her wear one early on to get her used to the sensation.

Cat Enclosures

We are thrilled to be able to offer custom-built cat enclosures to suit your yard or balcony, your budget and of course, your cats! They can be as big or small as you need or want. If you have ever had a cat go missing or come back home injured or harmed then you know that the outdoors is increasingly dangerous for our beloved feline friends. Whether it’s eating something bad for them, bad weather, getting hit by cars or trucks, being attacked by wild animals, fighting with another cat or even a neighbour who hates cats, there are ample opportunities for your kitty to be hurt. Please visit our website for some ideas or cost. www.beamsville4pawrescue.com.

Grooming Tools

Grooming helps keep your Pet healthy and beautiful. You’ll need both a flea comb and a brush, though the type of brush you use depends on the texture and length of your pet’s coat. Ask your veterinarian or groomer to recommend one that’s right for you.

*Remember Cats can get Fleas/Worm even if they don’t go outside. You can bring in flea or even if a fly deposit on their food they can get worms. Flea treatment (Revolution / Advantage) from May to October will prevent fleas/worms.

Toys

Your pet is curious and playful so she’ll need a supply of toys that are safe and fun – though they needn’t be store-bought. As long as the toys can’t be torn apart, splintered, or swallowed, they should be safe. So use a little imagination! Some household objects that might make great playthings include:

  • Tennis ball
  • Empty wooden thread spool
  • Balled-up  wax paper
  • Cardboard toilet-paper tube

Some items you may be tempted to give your cat can cause her harm. Steer clear of giving her:

  • Balls of string or yarn
  • Spools of thread
  • Rubber bands
  • Balls of aluminum foil
  • Corks
  • Wire twist ties

Unfortunately, in spite of your best efforts, sometimes the resident pets will not accept the new cat into their home. After a month of working through the techniques listed above, if your pets have not progressed past outward displays of aggression, it is time to consider the possibility that the new cat may not be able to integrate into your family. If this turns out to be the case, unless you are willing to maintain separate living quarters for warring pets, you may need to find the newcomer a new home. If you originally adopted the cat from 4Paws, pursuant to the Adoption Contract, you are required to return the cat to the organization.

Additional Help

Beamsville 4paw Rescue also has dedicated trainers, Animal Behavioural Specialist, Certified Children with Special Needs counsels. Please contact us with any questions or concerns about your Pets