Tag Archives: introducing a new pet

Preparing Your Home for a New Pet

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You might be thinking about selecting a heartwarming holiday gift this year – a new pet! As cute and irresistible as they are, new pets are not toys, and they’ll need your love and care for years to come. Make sure your home is ready for a new pet this Christmas, so that the transition is as smooth and joyful as possible.

Making a List (and Checking It Twice)

Stock up on supplies before you bring your new pet home, so you won’t have to make a frantic run to the pet store. The basics include a collar with a name tag, carrier, pet food, treats, food and water bowls, a scooper and bags, pet bed, toys, and grooming tools. Remember litter and a litter box for your cat, and a leash for your dog. The ASPCA recommends easing your pet into his new home by providing him with the food and litter he’s been used to, at least at first.

Before the First Day of Christmas

Take care of a few tasks before the Christmas frenzy hits. Make sure you have an identification tag ready with your phone number, and a secure carrier so your pet is safe while you travel home. Schedule a wellness visit; the Humane Society recommends taking your pet to the veterinarian within a week of adoption. Make sure other pets in the home are in good health and up-to-date on their shots. Do your research on feeding schedules, housetraining for dogs, and kitty litter training.

Our Troubles Will Be Out of Sight

Your pet’s safety is of the utmost importance, so pet-proof your home where needed. The ASPCA recommends removing stray items that your pet could chew or swallow, covering electrical outlets, putting away harsh chemicals, and moving any toxic houseplants. Remember that window cords can be a strangulation hazard to pets, so opt for pet-friendly alternatives. Keep washer, dryer, and toilet lids closed so small pets don’t climb inside. Move valuables to safe locations, and consider investing in furniture covers or pet gates to protect your furnishings.

All Is Calm

During your pet’s first days home, provide him with his own quiet, safe space and limit his access to other rooms. Place his food, water, and bed nearby, and let him explore his new surroundings. While it’s tempting for everyone in the family to lavish him with cuddles and attention, keep in mind that your pet is in a new home, and he’s still getting his bearings. Slowly introduce him to other rooms, children, and pets so he isn’t overwhelmed with all the excitement. According to the ASPCA, a cat may need up to 14 days to relax in a new environment.

‘Tis the Season to Be Jolly

Busy pets are happy pets! A bored pet can wreck havoc on your furnishings, so set aside time for exercise and play. The ASPCA recommends giving your dog at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day. Furnish your pet with toys that allow him to chew or scratch, such as chew toys for a dog and a scratching post for a cat.

Peace on Earth

Make sure everyone in the family is ready to accept the responsibility of a pet. Do your best to divvy up pet chores ahead of time, and take turns feeding, grooming, cleaning, and walking your pet.

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Filed under Cats, Christmas, Dogs, Pet Safety

June Is Cat Adoption Month

Spring is on its way out, but if visions of wobbly-headed, blue-eyed kittens are still scampering through your head, you might be interested to know that June is cat adoption month. Before you go scouring local animal shelters looking for “the one,” make certain you and your family are ready for the commitment and are not just bewitched by the cuteness avalanche that inevitably accompanies kitten season. If you’re sure you’re ready, arm yourself with knowledge and prepare to plunder those shelters!


1. You know that popular trope that decrees all cats are lazy and antisocial? Ignore it! PetsVet.com advises that personality and activity level differ drastically from cat to cat; this is where being mindful of your own characteristics comes in handy. Are you rambunctious and energetic, with loads of free time? Get a kitten! Mellow and laid-back, with an independent streak? Go for a full-grown cat.

2. Can you afford consistent vaccinations, food and litter, and other kitty essentials? Cats are low-maintenance pets, but the American Humane Society suggests creating a budget anyway to ensure your cat’s short-term and long-term needs are met.

3. Cat-proof your home before your new cat even sets a paw in it. Bar access to toxic plants, electrical cords, and tight spaces. According to PetsVet.com, sheets of aluminum foil and wire cooling racks will deter cats from walking on priceless furniture. If nothing else, you could always spring for a pet furniture cover!

4. Schedule a vet appointment too, before you even get your cat home. The sooner you catch any potential medical problems, the better.

5. When you get your new cat through the door, confine him or her to a “safe room,” with food, water, and a litter box. The American Humane Society proposes only gradually introducing him to the landscape of his new home—as well as to new people and pets.

6. Finally, a fair warning—your cat is going to scratch! PetsVet.com submits that scratching not only feels good, it’s a way to leave behind olfactory messages for other cats. It’s an instinct that is nearly impossible to deny. Find a nice scratching post and position it next to the arm of that chair he loves shredding to pieces. Sprinkle the post with catnip or dangle a feather around it to get your cat in the habit of using the post instead.

Adopting a stray is a commendable feat in and of itself. But before you do, make certain you are fully prepared for the latest addition to your family. Your cat’s first impression of you and your home will have a lasting effect on him for the rest of your time together, so make it count! Happy adopting!

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Filed under Cats, pet, Pet Adoption

When Furry Met Fluffy

When universal wisdom dictates that your beloved cat and dog reside on the same tier as water and oil, convincing your pets to befriend one another might seem like a task that defies the very laws of nature. Daunting though it may be, it’s not impossible! WebMD lays down the basics of helping your new pet make a good first impression with your older one:

1. First thing to keep in mind—your dog, new or old, is going to be tempted to chase your cat, especially if she flees from him. Provide her with ample places to hide (preferably off the floor), and restrain your dog. Allowing him to pursue her could mean their getting off to a bumpy start or, worse, result in injury.

2. The addition of a new pet into your home is an unsettling time for your older pet, so cushion the blow by introducing them to each other in short bursts. Before bringing a new pet into the home, install her litter box or doggy bed to get the older pet used to the inevitable change in scenery. Then let them meet.

3. Baby gates provide a protective buffer between a cat and dog, allowing them to safely observe and grow comfortable around each other. Remember—a step-by-step introduction is key!

4. Puppies and kittens can be trained early on to tolerate and respect cats and dogs. Although socialization will typically take longer and more supervision is required—especially in the case of an adult pet meeting a baby one—younger pets typically adapt better.

5. Always look into your shelter dog or cat’s background. If it has had destructive tendencies in the past, it might hurt the other pet. Also, be wary of herding breeds in dogs—their prey instinct is higher, and they’re more likely to give chase.

This process requires great patience, as it can take anywhere from a few minutes to several weeks. Whatever the case, don’t get discouraged and fall prey to the old “fighting like cats and dogs” adage. Although they may appear to be natural enemies, cats and dogs can be socialized to tolerate and even enjoy the presence of the other. It’s doing it right the first time that really makes it count.


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Filed under Cats, Dogs, pet