FAQ Q7

323 Drayton High Road, Hellesdon, Norwich, Norfolk, NR6 5AA

Willow Veterinary Clinic Norwich

(01603) 411520

Q7. What is the safest way to introduce a new pet into our home?

Cats and dogs have such differing social interaction that you have to look at each species independently.

 

Cats.

Before introducing a new cat it is important to assess the likelihood of resident cats accepting it and make general preparation for the arrival of their new friend.

 

Providing a new cat with its own room containing a latrine, food, water and a variety of resting and hiding places is essential . This can be supported by installing a Feliway diffuser ( available at the practice) which increases the sense of familiarity and security.

 

Allowing the new cat to become fully confident in the new location and with all members of the family is vital. This may take a few days, after which the cat should be eating, resting and approaching visitors to this environment.

 

The already resident cats should be provided with several extra feeding stations, places to drink and additional places to rest and hide and provided with scent cloths which mix the scents of all cats and allow odour swapping between cats. You should apply their 'group odour' to the owner and common marking places in the house until the cats begin to rub against or groom each other.

 

Cats need to be able to see each other but without any risk of carrying out an attack. This can be achieved with glass doors or mesh screen.

 

The total time for the introduction process may vary from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, but there is no shortcut if harmony is to be achieved.

 

Further, more comprehensive advice is available at all times from the clinic in the form of our advice sheet number 6: 'Introducing new cats to the household'.

 

Dogs.

 

If you want to introduce a new dog into your home with your existing dog you have to consider several issues and observe the following conditions.

 

If the second dog is a puppy, you must spend extra time interacting with it on a one- to-one basis, to prevent it from forming a stronger attachment to the other dog than with the human beings.

 

A young puppy should not be permitted to behave aggressively towards the elder dog , even in play, as this behaviour may generalise to other dogs.

 

Two dogs (or two bitches) of similar size should be avoided, to reduce the risk of dominance conflict between them. A dog and bitch is the best combination.

 

Two puppies from the same litter are a combination to be avoided, both because of the risk that they will become socialized preferentially to one another and because of the risk of dominance conflict.

 

Undertake a puppy training course. This really gets your new pet into the swing of general socialization and improves confidence.

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