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How to manage your multipet household?

Updated on November 29, 2007

For quite a while I was of an opinion there was no way my dog would tolerate any pet additions to our family. However 3 cats later I realized how wrong I was, our senior citizen is much more tolerable then I gave him credit for. Whether you have a dog already and suddenly you have cats as well or if you have a cat that is an established force in your household and you think about getting a cat, with some caution over the first introductions your multipet household can be managed relatively easily.

To begin with if you are still in the stage of considering whether or not you can handle a multipet household fact of the matter is animals get more easily adjusted to new additions when they are younger. That is especially true for cats, while dogs can manage to make nice and make friends even later on in life. Chances are if you get 2 young animals that grow up together, the introduction process will go much more quickly and smoothly. In the beginning it will be necessary to separate them. If you already have a cat, you know how territorial cats can get, so whether you are getting another cat or possibly a dog, to reduce the levels of stress all around, keep the new animal confined to one part of the house as this will greatly reduce both of the animal's stess levels.

As both dogs and cats sense of smell is extremely important, it would be good to let them sniff each other out sort to speak. The best way to go about it would be that the animal that has been in the house for a while sniffs the other animal while it is asleep.

When the time for the first introduction comes, it is pointless to say but start off slowly. Make sure you enlist a family member or a friend to help you and keep both of the animals restrained to minimize the potential for a scuffle. If all goes well and it is a positive experience both animals should feel better when the time comes for their next meeting.

Another important thing to consider is that your cat should have its own hiding place. Cats like to hide whether or not there are other animals present in the house (as we all know favorite hide outs include under the chairs, bed or other furniture or top of the closets) so make sure once both or all animals are on the loose in the house the cats will have their secure hide away. It goes without saying that unless you are getting all the animals at the same time or you are getting both a cat and a dog that is very young it will take some time for them to get sued to each other. In fact it might take as long as 6 months to be able to tell if they are getting along. Time and patience are the keys however it can be done.

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