Let your new cat make friends with your other pets

You're worried your plump tom cat is going to fling himself immediately at the new resident. Don't worry, there are various remedies to make sure not too many claws fly, whether the newcomer's a dog or another cat.

Cats are not always very social animals, and there's no way to force your pet to like a newcomer. But if you make sure there's no competition, like for food or a safe place to sleep, then both animals will in time learn to live with each other. With luck, they may even bind. The secret is patience: let both animals get to know each other step by step, and provide each of them with a separate place to eat and to sleep. 

A quiet place

If you bring a dog into your house, make sure your cat has a place the dog can’t get at. There you can put the cat's tray, its food and drink and perhaps a scratching post. The dog doesn't suffer and the cat can attend to its needs in peace. Furniture to crawl under or jump onto is always useful, to allow your cat to flee if things get too hot.

The secret is patience: let both animals get to know each other step by step.

Accustoming to scents

Scents are very important for a cat. Pat both pets so that the scents mingle and cat gradually gets accustomed to the new house mate’s body odour. You can also pat the newcomer with a cloth and then rub the same cloth along the walls and furniture in your house. Do that for a few days and up to a week before the two pets sniff each other for the first time in the flesh.

Getting acquainted in the cage

The safest way of allowing animals to get acquainted with each other is to place the new resident in a cage and allow the veteran to run around freely. In this way they can hear, see and smell each other without going straight into the clinch. Feed both pets at the same time. That may provoke some hissing, but after a few days or weeks this will give way to curiosity and even camaraderie.

Although dogs and cats are well known to be quick to fight, it's often easier to let them accustomed to each other than two cats.

Stay present

Make sure you're always close at hand in the crucial first weeks, when you release the two animals into the same space. In this way you can intervene immediately if either reacts aggressively. Such behaviour must be punished immediately so as not to become a pattern.

Like cat and dog 

Although dogs and cats are well known to be quick to fight, it's often easier to let them accustomed to each other than two cats. Cats do not see a dog as a threat or as direct competition, and usually the two become the best of buddies once the cat is considered to be a part of the family. Don't forget to reward your dog when he does well here.

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