Welcoming Your New Pet Home
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Tips for easing the transition to a new home for your new cat or kitten:

Please understand that while bringing this cat into your new home is a wonderful thing, it can be a stressful change for your kitty. We strongly urge you to give your cat a few days to adapt to all these changes. 

  • Keep kitty in a small room, even a bathroom, for a few days so they can get used to life outside of the shelter. 
  • Spend several 20-minute sessions with your new cat. Use this time to let your kitty know that you are the source of all things good – food, petting, and play. 
  • Gradually introduce your cat to the rest of your home. If you move too fast, you may find that your cat will hide a lot, perhaps only coming out while you’re asleep to check you out. 
  • Don’t be alarmed if your kitty doesn’t eat a lot for the first day or so. Sometimes cats develop little stress colds after moving into their new home. This is generally nothing to be alarmed about, but do make sure that the cat is eating and not overly congested. Call your vet if the cat does not eat for more than 2 days or seems lethargic. 

Introducing your new cat to your other pets

Typically, cats are territorial and need a slow introduction to other animals in your home. This helps them get used to each other, prevent aggressive or fearful problems, and confrontations. Here are some guidelines to help introduce your new cat to the rest of your pets. 

  • As recommended above, keep your new cat confined to a small room with their food, water, bed, and litter box. At feeding time, feed your new cat and your other pets on each side of the door to this room. This helps them associate something positive with each other’s smells. 
  • Help your pets get used to each other’s smells by swapping sleeping blankets or bedding. This helps them get used to scents without a face-to-face meeting. You can rub a towel or blanket on one animal and put it underneath the food dish of another animal. Once your new cat is eating and using their litter box regularly while confined, give them free time in the house while confining your other animals to the new cat’s room. This allows your new cat to become familiar with their new home without being frightened by the other animals. 
  • After you’ve let your new cat roam freely without the other animals around, prop open the dividing door just enough to allow the animals to see each other with two doorstops. Repeat this process over several days while supervised. 

It’s best to introduce your pets to each other slowly. This helps prevent your animals from becoming fearful or aggressive. Your cats may protest mildly from time to time, but be sure to stop this behavior from intensifying. If either animal becomes aggressive or afraid, separate them and start the introduction process once again with a series of small, gradual steps from above. 

If any of your pets are displaying aggressive or fearful behavior despite repeated attempts at a gradual introduction, contact your vet or an animal behaviorist. 

Tips for easing the transition to a new home for your new dog or puppy:

Patience and being prepared are key to helping your new dog adjust to their new home. It can take time for your new pet to adjust to their new surroundings. These tips can help ensure a smooth transition. 

  • Establish house rules and a care routine with the humans of your household. Consistency is key. Figure out who will walk your new dog throughout the day, who will feed them, and any areas or furniture that is off-limits. 
  • In line with routine, give your new dog a regular bathroom routine to prevent accidents. Watch for signals your new dog gives you that they need to go outside. 
  • A crate may be a good option for your new dog as they settle into their new home. This gives them a space that is theirs and provides security. The crate should not contain wire where their paws can get caught and should be large enough to allow your dog to stand up, turn around, and sit comfortably in normal posture. 
  • If a crate isn’t an option, a dog-proofed room or portion of a room sectioned off with a baby or dog gate is also a good option. 

Introducing your new dog to your other dog(s)

As we mentioned above, being prepared and patient are key to welcoming your new dog to your home and family. Here are some tips for introducing your new dog to your other dog(s).

  • Introduce your dogs in a neutral, outdoor space, preferably one that is fully fenced. An area where neither dog has claimed through frequent visits is key. If a fully fenced in area is not available, an outdoor space with enough room for the dogs to roam on-leash is a good option.
  • Make sure all toys, treats, and empty food bowls are put away. This prevents any confrontations over items they have claimed or feel protective over.
  • After introductions, a dog walk together is a great idea. Walk both dogs parallel to each other and far enough apart that they aren’t fixated on each other. Allow the dogs to investigate any bathroom spots, as urine-sniffing is one way dogs pick up information about other dogs.
  • We recommend not using a retractable leash when introducing your dogs to each other. If an aggressive situation arises, you should be able to separate them easily without getting your hands in between the dogs.
  • Watch for positive body language such as wagging tails or play bowing. (This is when dogs put their elbows on the ground and their rear end in the air.) If playful, relaxed behaviors are present with both dogs, gradually decrease the distance between them while walking or consider allowing them to interact without holding the leash.
  • If you feel comfortable with how they’re interacting and are in a fully fenced area, drop the leashes and allow the dogs to interact and sniff each other while giving them praise for their calm interactions.
  • When you bring your new dog inside your home, make sure your other dog(s) are outside or on a walk. This will allow your new dog to check out their new home alone without becoming fearful or aggressive. Keep an eye on your new dog as they investigate. When they’re done checking things out, bring your new dog to an open part of your home away from the front door. At this point, you can bring your other dog(s) inside. Make sure this area is free of toys, food, or treats that may cause tension between the dogs. 
  • Always keep your dogs separate during mealtimes. This can mean putting their food bowls in different rooms or separating them with a dog or baby gate. To prevent aggression or tension, keep them apart until both dogs have finished eating and pick up the bowls after feeding time. 
  • Set aside one-on-one time for each dog and maintain your resident dog(s) typical schedule. Always separate your dogs when you can’t watch them as they get to know each other. This keeps them safe while you’re not around to supervise and gives them downtime to relax and regroup. 

We will be calling you after a week or so to see how your cat or dog is adjusting to their new environment. Please do not hesitate to call our Mulberry campus at (970) 484-8516 for cats or our Taft Hill campus at (970) 224-3647 for dogs in the meantime should you have any questions. 

We look forward to a long and satisfying relationship with you and for you and your pet. Please let us know how your pet is doing – we love receiving photos and hearing stories about your pet in their new home.