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Cats/Adding another pet to the household

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Question
Hi there. I have a bit of a dilemma, and I wonder if you might be able to offer me some advice. 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.

Sincerely,

Lisa

Answer
Lisa,

Here is a technique we have used and had our pet buyers use for introducing a new pet into a household with an already established cat.  The odds are your established cat would be more accepting of a puppy. It would be best if the puppy were paper trained to minimize puppy accidents.

Start out your new puppy in one room with newspaper and water dish.  Ideally, the one room should be a bedroom with yourself or another human resident. This accomplishes a couple of things. Your new puppy will not be overwhelmed by its new surroundings and, thusly, will
have no problem doing its business in an acceptable place. You will feed the new puppy in this room and keep the established cat out. It allows the new puppy to bond with you or another human being and also build up some self assurance in its new surroundings since it will not have to compete for food or attention right away. Finally, it allows the new puppy and the established cat to sniff each other under the door and get familiar with each others' scents.

After 3-5 days of being in its one room, it is time to let them meet each other. Be prepared for some posturing, some spitting and hissing, and the like. IGNORE IT! After a while #maybe a few days to a week#, they should begin chasing each other about and still have the occasional hiss or spit as they get accustomed to each other. Cats tend to make a whole lot of noise and even loosen up some fur. Rarely will a cat hurt a puppy.

Once they are introduced, there are a couple of things you must remember. Do not separate them again, they will get along! Do not interfere in their "discussions" as they need to sort it out amongst themselves!

It does not hurt to give the established cat treats and extra attention after the new puppy is introduced (yes, cats do get jealous!).

A couple of things you may have to do are to is to feed the established cat high up, so there is no chance the puppy will eat the cat's food (cats and dogs do have different diet requirements.  

Make sure the cat's litter pan is somewhere the puppy cannot get to as many dogs look at cat poop as a great "candy" treat and may bother the cat when the cat is busy in the litter pan.

Of course this will delay the puppy learning to ask out for peeing or pooping a bit, but the paper training may help.

It is also important the cat has "escape routes" (, i.e. jumping out of the puppy's reach if the puppy becomes too rambunctious.

All, in all, this method seems to have had great success in the past and makes for a fairly smooth introduction. Please remember that they may make up immediately, or it may take a few weeks or even months.

Please let me know how things go, if you do decide to get a puppy.  BTW the above technique also works for a new kitten (except for the dog related cautions).

Best regards... Norm.  

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Norman Auspitz

Expertise

I can answer most non-veterinary questions about cats. My particular expertise is pedigree cats, breeding and showing. However, I am versed in feline behavior, cat breeds and their characteristics, general feline husbandry, and the like.

Experience

I judged for the Canadian Cat Association from 1975 until 1982. I am currently an approved allbreed judge for the Cat Fanciers'' Association (the world''s largets cat registry), and have been judging for them since 1991. I have been breeding pedigreed cats since 1971 and have been exhibiting pedigreed cats in shows since 1970. I obtained my first pedigreed cat in 1970 and have never looked back. In 1971, I obtained my first Abyssinian which has become my primary breed. In addition, I have bred Manx and Persians. Currently, besides the Abyssinians, I am also breeding Maine Coons.


Organizations
Cat Fanciers'' Association, inc. (CFA) and the Manx, Maine Coon, and Abyssinian breed councils. I am currently Abyssinian breed council secretary.

Publications
Cat Fancy Magazine, The Abyssinian Chapter in The Cat Fanciers'' Association Complete Cat Book, and Articles for various editions of The Cat Fanciers'' Association Yearbook

Education/Credentials
I received a B.S. from Drexel University in 1968, a M.Math from University of Waterloo, in 1970, a Ph.D. from University of Waterloo in 1975, and a MBA from McMaster University in 1980. I received my approved allbreed judging status in the Cat Fanciers'' Association in 1999.

Awards and Honors
We have produced a number of Cat Fanciers'' Association (CFA) National winning Abyssinian and Maine Coons. We have produced a number of Abyssinian and Maine Coon Distinguished Merit females (an award for a top producing cat), including the first Distinguished Merit Abyssinian in the red (sorrel) color. I am the CFA Abyssinian breed council secretary and belong and/or hold office in a number of cat clubs. I am also a member of the CFA Judges Association.

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