Are you a pet person? Some people just have a knack for attracting pets in-need, and before they know it, they end up with a house full of cats, dogs and other assorted creatures. Creating a happy and healthy home environment for everyone involved is of the utmost importance. Obviously, taking time to learn about habitat requirements for exotic pets is essential, but it is also important to learn about the needs for common pets, such as cats and dogs. Basic vet care for cats and dogs is required before introducing a new cat or other pet into the home. Begin with a veterinary check-up with your local South Coast veterinarian.
What to Expect: At the Vet
When you visit our Dartmouth animal hospital with your new cat, it is important to get a complete veterinary exam to ensure that your new pet won’t be bringing disease or other conditions into your home. This keeps the pets that you already have at home safe and helps your new cat to have a sold and healthy start as a member of your household. Remember, pets can sniff out when another animal is sick or injured, so the best way to introduce your new house-mate to your other furry friends is to make sure that they have a clean bill of health.
If you have ever had a cat before, you know that each cat is unique. Some will merge into the daily life of your household and make friends with other cats and dogs immediately. Others will take more time to get used to the new surroundings and lifestyle, or may never ever adjust to their new roommates. The choices that you make when adopting your new cat can also help to make the adjustment period easier or harder, depending on the situation. For example, a cat that previously lived with other cats, dogs or was used to children being around, will likely mesh with your household conditions if they are similar to what they already know.
How to Reduce Problems
Once you visit the Dartmouth animal hospital and get vet care for cats and dogs to ensure that everyone is healthy and ready to make introductions, there are still other things that you can do to provide a stress-free meeting for everyone involved. You need to realize that even under ideal conditions, that the first introduction might not go smoothly. These pets are strangers and your existing pets may not like the newcomer and the newcomer might not like the idea of sharing their new home with other creatures.
- Create Transitional Housing – One way to reduce stress is to create a separate area for your new cat. This area should include a litter box, scratching post, food, water, comfortable resting places, and a window for access to natural sunlight. This is pretty much all that a cat requires to be happy.
- Introduce Pets Slowly – Allowing your new cat to get used to the sounds and smells of your home in their private transitional housing area can be a big benefit. Once you decide to start introducing your existing cats or dogs to your new cat, make sure to spend time with them together for at least an hour each day, to allow them time to get used to one another.
- Supervise Play – Watch for signs of aggression, stress and anxiety in all of your pets, which can be displayed as a decreased appetite, excessive vocalization or hiding. Your pet could be suffering from stress if you notice any of these signs. Consult with your South Coast veterinarian and refrain from interactive play until you are sure everyone is safe and not under major duress.
- Create Play Boxes for Cats – Another method is to get a large cardboard box and cut holes in two of the sides. Cats like to hide and play in boxes, and having a hiding spot to play around in and retreat to when meeting a new pet can help them to interact in a safe and playful way. This can be a great ice-breaker for cats.
Get a Veterinary Check-Up for New Pets
No matter what type of pet you choose to adopt, make sure to get a veterinary check-up at your local Dartmouth animal hospital before you bring them home. Our team of highly trained veterinarians and specialists provide vet care for cats and dogs, as well as a host of other domesticated and exotic pets. Give us a call at 508-996-3731 to schedule an appointment or to ask questions about the pets we see and the services we provide.