We’re adopting a cat in the next month. We are so excited about our new addition but want to make sure that our dog adjusts to having a kitty sibling. What is the best way to introduce a new cat into our household?
Introducing New Kitty in Woodland Heights
Dear Introducing New Kitty,
Congratulations on your new addition! While it’s often a bit stressful introducing a new pet into a household, with a little forethought and planning, you can make sure that kitty gets started off on the right “paw” with your dog.
Experts and vets alike have several tips for the introduction process. Here are some of my favorites:
• Confine your new cat to one medium-sized room with her litter box, food, water and a bed. Feed your resident pet and the newcomer on each side of the door to this room. This will help all of them to associate something enjoyable (eating!) with each others smells. However, don’t put the food so close to the door that the animals are too upset by each other’s presence to eat. Gradually move the dishes closer to the door until your pets can eat calmly, directly on either side of the door. Next, use two doorstops to prop open the door just enough to allow the animals to see each other, and repeat the whole process.
• Switch sleeping blankets or beds between your new cat and your resident animal so that they have a chance to become accustomed to each others scent. Rub a towel on one animal and put it underneath the food dish of another animal. You should do this with each animal in the house.
• Once your new cat is using her litter box and eating regularly while confined, let her have free time in the house while confining your other pet to the new cat’s room. This switch provides another way for the animals to experience each others scents without a face-to-face meeting. It also allows the newcomer to become familiar with her new surroundings without being frightened by the other animal.
• Finally, when you’re ready for face to face introductions, keep your dog on leash in the presence of the cat and see what happens. Be sure to pet your dog and the cat at the same time, so that the dog can see that the cat is “one of us.”
After a few face to face meetings, when you feel like the time is right and the kitty has ample places to escape the dog, cautiously let them mingle under your watchful eye. It might take a while for harmony to ensue, but soon enough, everyone will be cohabitating like a champ.
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Pet of the Week
Meet Maggy. This stunning 2.5 year old Siamese girl is ready for her new beginning. She is quiet, calm and very sweet. Maggy prefers the company of women but is opening up more and more in her foster home. She’d make a lovely addition to a quiet home where she could occupy your lap and relish in ample chin scratches. To learn more about Maggy, visit www.animaljusticeleague.org.