Bringing another pet into your home is exciting, but sometimes other pets can get territorial or jealous. Here are some of our top tips for introducing a new pet to your current pet.
Cats to cats
- Let your new cat explore their surroundings first – To begin with, keep the cats in separate rooms. Set up one room just for the new cat to get comfortable in and adjust to your home.
- The first interaction – Let the cats catch a quick look at each other through an open doorway or a window, or you could leave a blanket they’ve been lying on with the other cat so they can catch a scent. This will let both cats know there’s another cat present without overwhelming them immediately.
- The official meeting – When you feel your new cat is settling, this is when you should let them meet your current cat. Open the door and let your new cat come out in their own time and let the cats come together when they’re ready.
- If there’s an issue – It’s normal for cats not to be friends straight away so be patient. If there’s any sign of aggression, take your new cat back to their room and ease your cats into meeting another time. They will warm to each other eventually!
Dogs to dogs
- Keep them separate – You should provide both dogs with their own safe space and try to keep them separate where possible so they can adjust to sharing a home with another dog.
- Leased interactions – For the first couple of meetings it’s best to keep both dogs on leashes so you have more control over their engagement with each other
- Keeping a distance on walks – Where possible, try to take them on walks together but keep them separate. Over time and once your dogs are comfortable around each other, you can decrease the distance and let them walk together.
- Reward positive behaviour – If either dog is calm and kind around the other, you should reward them with praise or treats.
- If there’s an issue – If your dogs are getting stressed or aggressive, you should contact a dog trainer to help guide you through the process.
Dogs to Cats
- Finding the right fit – Before adopting either animal, you should do your research on how well they match up with a dog/cat and how their breeds have socialised historically. This will help you choose the right fit.
- Providing safe spaces – As with any other pet introduction, each pet should have its own safe place. You should also try to keep their outside time separate initially, just until they’re comfortable around one another.
- Initial interactions – In the first few meetings between your dog and cat, you should use leases or gates to keep them separate. This will avoid any unpleasant contact.
- Rewarding positive behaviour – Both pets should be rewarded with praise, attention or treats when being calm and friendly around the other animal
- If there’s an issue – You should contact a trainer, they can provide advice on reading body language and how to manage interactions.