You are here:

Ask the Veterinarian/Adding a new pet to the household


Hi there. I am not sure whether this is within your range of expertise or not, but thought it would be worth a try. I have a bit of a dilemma. I have a cat whom I love dearly. His name is Trouble, and he is about ten years old. He is neutered and declawed, up to date on all of his shots etc He is also a bit spoiled. LOL Anyway, as much as I love him I desperately would like to have another pet. What I would REALLY like is a puppy. I have wanted one for as far back as I can remember. I could never have one growing up because unfortunately my parents were not as fond of animals as I was. My birthday is coming up in April, and I asked for a puppy. My mom is open to the idea, but she has some concerns. Mainly how will "Trouble" react to having to share me(and his home) with a new pet after being used to it just being the two of us for after all these years. He has had VERY limited exposure to other animals, and on the few occasions that he has it was clear that he felt threatened. The type of puppy we are considering is a small breed (a pug would be my first choice). How can I help "Trouble" adjust to this big change in his life? Is there any way I can help the transition go more smoothly? And should I be concerned about either one of them harming the other? Having a puppy would be a dream come true, but "Trouble" is my main concern. I don't want to see either one of them get hurt either (god forbid). My mom suggested perhaps getting another cat instead, but to be honest I don't really like that idea. I think puppies would be more fun (just because I've never had one before, and also because they tend to be more energetic, playful, sociable etc). The main reason I want another pet is because I am lonely, and I want the companionship. I am disabled and don't get out of the house much. Typically I am home 24/7 with the exception of the occasional medical appointment. I am very shy, don't have many friends etc and I thought a puppy might help me to come out of my shell. It would also motivate me to get out and exercise. Also, I feel that "Trouble" would be even more hostile towards another cat, because he is very territorial. What do you think? My main concern is that one of them would harm the other, but I am here most of the time. Any suggestions/ideas you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.



Hi Lisa,

I apologize for the delay but I have been searching high and low for a video that I cannot find. I was going to give you the link to it. It's about introducing a puppy or dog to an older cat.

There are a few on youtube that you can find, under the search of "introducing older cats to new dogs." So if you want to watch them, just do a search.

Now I can understand you wanting something to make you laugh and keep you busy- but it would be really great if you adopted a dog from the pound or a shelter, instead of encouraging someone to breed dogs in the backyard.

You can find puppies all the time at shelters, or get a nice quiet small dog that is good with cats and other pets.

Trouble will have his nose bent out of shape no matter what you do or who you bring home. It will take weeks and months for him to adjust to having another pet around.

You will need to introduce them to each other very slowly, over a period of weeks.
There are many ways to do this but using a crate is the best. Dogs/puppies should be crate trained anyway, and that is the safest way for you to let these two meet each other.

Just remember that since Trouble has been alone most of his life, and has probably only seen a dog from a distance, that he will be very frightened at first. A smaller dog is a good idea for that reason.

He would act the same whether or not you get another cat- it would still take months of patience before he would accept another cat.

I have a 10 yr old cat as well and just adopted a stray cat. It's been over 5 months and they still fight. So you just never know how long it will take. She is a little more tolerant of the new kitten (who is almost a year old) but she does NOT like her at all.

So it's one thing you need to consider. Now a curious thing is that many male cats are much more tolerant to new comers than females are. I have no clue why that is but it seems to be the case.

So pick your new friend carefully. Hopefully you can get a dog that you don't have to potty train that has been around cats and is smallish. Please re-think buying any dog from a breeder.

Have fun with your new playmate- whatever you decide!

Hi Lisa,
I just found these two videos so they might help:

Let me know how it goes!

Ask the Veterinarian

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

©2017 All rights reserved.