I’m getting married soon and my spoiled cat and I are moving into my soon-to-be husband’s home that he shares with his two (also spoiled) dogs. I’m very concerned about blending our two pet families. Any tips?
Going To The Chapel in Cottage Grove
Dear Going To The Chapel,
Congratulations on your impending marriage (and thank you for taking the time to consider how your move will impact all of the pets involved)! 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 husband’s dogs.
Experts and vets alike have several tips for the introduction process. Here are some of my favorites:
Set up a safe space for kitty
Confine your new cat to one medium-sized room with her litter box, food, water and a bed. Feed the resident pets 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 other’s scents. 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 the 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 and beds between your cat and the resident animals so they have a chance to become accustomed to each other’s 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.
Do a room do-si-do
Once your cat is using her litter box and eating regularly while confined, let her have free time in the house while confining the other animals to your cat’s room. This switch provides another way for the animals to experience each other’s scents without a face-to-face meeting. It also allows the newcomer to become familiar with his or her new surroundings without being frightened by the other animals.
Keep pups on a short leash
Finally, when you’re ready for face-to-face introductions, keep the dogs on leashes in the presence of your cat and see what happens. Be sure to pet they dogs and your cat at the same time, so that the dogs can see that your cat is “one of us.”
Lastly, make sure your kitty has ample places to get away from the dogs in case she needs a swift retreat. High spots to climb to and rooms where the dogs aren’t allowed will make kitty feel secure and help her to understand that this is her new home. With some patience, love and a little planning, you can ensure that your pets (and you!) settle in nicely to their new living situation.
Do you have a question for Tabby? If so, email her at email@example.com.
Pets of the Week
Meet Jojo and Twenny.
These two boys were found roaming the streets together, both having been previously adopted through two separate rescue groups. Somehow they found themselves out on the streets together, lost and displaced from a home they’d lived in together for years. Now this bonded pair is desperate to find a new happy ending together. They both are healthy, happy and have manners to spare. If you have room in your home (and your heart) for these sweet boys, please contact Scout’s Honor at www.scoutshonor.org.