A few weeks ago my boyfriend finally decided to get a kitten. The problem we had though was that I already have a cat that’s about five-years-old. He’s still got a bit of kitten left in him, but he’s turned into a bit of a sleepy grump the past few months. We wanted things to go well, so we did a ton of research prior to buying his kitten. What sex should we get? What do we do when we bring our new pet home? How do we introduce them properly so a fight doesn’t ensue?
Many of us would like to get another pet for our homes or learn about techniques to introduce children to pets in our home. I’d like to share some advice from my experience to make the transition as easy as possible so you end up with happy results – rather than returning your pet to the shelter.
Introducing a New Pet to Your Resident Pet
Introducing a new pet in your home can create a ton of stress for the resident pet(s). If you plan on buying another pet for your home we have some points you should consider. My boyfriend and I did a lot of research and we found that these tips worked the best for us, giving us the results we hoped for.
Experts note that buying another pet of the same gender might not work so well, particularly if you already have a male pet in the home. Males may end up fighting over territory constantly and possibly hurt each other in the process. I have a male cat, so when we looked at adding a kitten to the home, we strongly leaned toward a female kitten to create as little friction as possible.
Keep them separated for a few days
When you bring your new pet home, keep the new pet in what experts call a “safe room.” Set up a safe room with food, water, toys, and a place to sleep for your new pet before you go pick them up. When you bring your new pet home, take them to the safe room immediately. This room let’s the resident pet get used to the presence of the new pet in the house. Consider moving the resident pet’s food bowl near the new pet’s room. Experts add that associating the new pet with something like food begins the connection of the new animal with something good.
Introduce the pets with each other’s scent
I think keeping our cats separated and introducing them with each other’s scent worked really well. The first two days we switched the blankets each cat slept with so they could get used to each other’s scent. With my cat, the resident cat, I also gave him treats when he went near the blankets to continue associating the new cat’s scent with good things to build up the relationship.
This was probably the most stressful part of the process for me. My cat had hissed a few times at the new cat, and I was pretty nervous that my cat would rip the kitten apart. First, we brought my cat into the safe room to see what would happen. Things were a little hectic, but overall, it went well. The next day we took them to the hallway to give them both more space. With water bottles in hand (just in case we needed to break up a fight), we let them out. They got along great, and since then we’ve been able to leave them out all day while we’re at work or out.
Talk to your vet if these fail
If you really want to keep your new pet at home, take your pets to the vet and see if the veterinarian can give you any tips to help ease the process. I read that your vet might be able to provide you with a medication to calm your pets to help with the adjustment of a new animal in the home.
After a few days, and a little hissing from my cat when the new cat went near his food, our kitten and resident cat started to get along great. Taking our time and not rushing the situation was difficult, but it was definitely worth it.
Introducing a New Pet to a Child
Whether you’re expecting and already have a pet, or, have a child and want to add a pet to your home, preparation is important. Preparation prior to the arrival of your new pet or child will help ease the process and make it less stressful for you, your pet, and your child.
Introduce your pet to baby smells
Try rubbing some baby powder or oil on your hands to get your pet used to those smells. Give your pet treats when they sniff the powder or oil to associate those smells with something good.
Baby dolls can help your pet adjust
Purchase a baby doll to start training your pet how to act around your baby. Training your pet not to jump on or attack the doll can help prevent accidents when you bring your newborn home.
Set up a safe room for your baby
Much like the safe room for your pet, try to cordon off the baby’s room from your pet for a few days when you first bring your baby home. Let your pet get used to the presence of a baby and then introduce them slowly.
Talk to your child about your new pet
If you decide to add a new pet to your home, make sure to talk to your child about the pet – particularly if it’s a little kitten or puppy. Make sure your child knows it’s not a toy and that your pet is fragile. You don’t want your toddler to unintentionally hurt your new pet by rough housing. For the first few days, closely monitor when the child and pet are together to make sure the pet isn’t aggressive toward the child or vice versa.
Whether It’s a New Pet or Child, Give Them Both Attention
Give equal attention to the resident pet or child because you don’t want them to feel like they’re being replaced. If you don’t, your pet or child may feel resentment or anger – further hindering the relationship.
Introducing a new pet to a child or a new pet to an old pet can be stressful if you don’t prepare. With a little preparation and care, it can be an easy and stress free process. The most important thing to note is to NEVER force the relationship between two animals or a pet and a child. Forcing them to get along won’t really do you any good or help the relationship grow. Take your time introducing new pets into your home. Also keep in mind that it could take a few days or a few months for everyone to get along.
Do you have any tips to help other readers introduce new pets or children to your home? Share them with other Zing readers!