My Story, Pet Adoption, Tenencia responsable

November 13, 2021

Welcoming a new dog or cat to the family

In my family, we had rescued several dogs and adopted 5 of them that became part of the family, so for 3 years in a row, introducing a new (male) doggo to the pack was kind of familiar to us and all turned out well until we adopted the first female, who wasn’t accepted by one of the dogs we already had, the reason why we needed to keep them apart, and we still do (with the difference that now the doggo is ok with her being at the house, but not sharing the same place); same happened when I adopted Maca (actually, she doesn’t stay with her “cousins”). These things can happen when adding a new dog or cat to the family, the existing animals can or can not accept or like the presence of that new member.

By now, you should be thinking if there is some kind of method to ensure that they do like each other, and well, there are several ways of introducing well a new animal to your furry family, but there is no exact recipe for this, it all depends on multiple aspects such as the type of animals, personalities, age, size, breed, behavior, level of attachment to the family if they are rescued or not. My general advice is to know and understand very well your dog/cat and to seek guidance from a professional on animal behavior. And because sharing is caring, here I am about to tell you a little bit more about how it was for me to make the decision of adopting a cat already having a dog, and how it was to introduce them to each other. Let’s start from the beginning!

Pink background. Young woman with long hair with blond ends. She is siting on the floor with a beige sweater, grey pants and tennis shoes. A fluffy white dog is sitting on her lap looking at the camera. A small kitty is looking curious sitting on the dogs lap.
Photo by Fauna

Aspects to consider

I made myself a series of questions before asking the universe for Maia. Those are things everyone should consider before making the decision of adding a new furry member to the family.

1. Are you able to support another animal?

Ask yourself if you have the space, time, money, patience, and all the resources that the new animal will need to have a good life.

I live in a small apartment, so I know that for now, I’m not able to have another dog because of the space; but a baby cat would adapt fine. I’m grateful for having a stable job so I’m able to buy them food and take them to the regular checkups at the vet. Also, I work from home, which makes it easier for me to be aware of anything that might happen.

2. Know your dog/cat

How is the personality of your actual dog(s) or/and cat(s)? Is it more quiet or playful? Does it like to be in the company of other animals? How is its behavior with another dog or cat?

Macarena is a very social dog, she likes to be surrounded by people and other dogs, but she is a bit suspicious when another dog is at our home, all good when is somewhere else, and this past year, she has been selective with which dogs she plays with. Also, she has been very communicative on the idea that she likes cats and that she wanted a cat sister. By saying this, I again thought that now, having another dog wouldn’t be a good idea at the moment, but a cat would. In addition to that, Maca is a very patient and quiet/playful dog, so she will be ok with a puppy or a senior.

Pink background. White lady kitty wearing a red small scarf She is siting and looking up.
Photo by Fauna

3. Think about the other animal

How is the personality of the future dog or/and cat? Is it more quiet or playful? What’s its age and size?

Dogs and cats have different personalities, puppies, and seniors as well, so think about the mix that would increase the probabilities for them to get along.

By the time I got to think about this, I knew that I was able to support another animal, but it needed to be a cat and in this case a baby cat. By adopting a female kitty, the odd of her liking Maca would be more, but still not definitive.

4. Ask advice to a professional

Having your first dog or cat brings a lot of questions to ourselves, and brings another member to the existing family as well. Don’t leave those doubts without an answer, go and ask for advice from a professional, it could be the vet you trust.

In our family, we all always had dogs, but not cats (just my sister who adopted the lovely Raviol, a cat, a year ago), nor even a dog and a cat living together, so I had several concerns. I asked Majo from Anima for advice, and to Maca’s vets from Paws&Co and La Gatería, and they gave me so pretty good advice based on Maca’s personality and behavior and Maia’s age.

They recommended I put Maca wear a bandana for some time and do the same with Maia, then switch; this way Maia will get familiar with Maca’s smell and Maca to Maia’s.

When bringing Maia home, I put her on a carrier, went home, and stayed in my room with my door closed, while Maca was with one of my best friends on the other side. I got Maia out of the carrier gave her a treat, and Maca got some as well. They started to smell each other across the door (this was their first “in-person” encounter).

Then I got Maia inside the carrier again, and open the door. Maca entered, keeping her with a leash so she would approach slowly to Maia, they were both quiet. After a while, I let Maia out of the carrier and let her approach by herself to Maca, and she did.

Maia was exploring the room and curious about Maca, Maca was keeping it cool and exciting at the same time, since all was doing good, I unleashed Maca. She stayed looking happy at Maia.

They were getting along!! Maia seemed to like Maca too, so much that they slept together the first night, and they still do. Maca takes care of Maia and they play together during the day. I was really lucky, this doesn’t happen very often so quickly.

It is important to remember that each case is different, that’s why it is important to ask a professional for advice, be patient, and don’t force them to be BFFs.

5. Be patient

And all of this ends in patience. Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t come the way you expected or if they don’t get along so fast, as I mentioned previously, all cases are different and you can’t completely predict the result. What you can do is prepare yourself as much as you can, follow all the previous steps, don’t force your animals to have that relationship you want, and be patient.

Yes, I was dreaming Maca and Maia getting along as they did, but it should have been different, and I would have thought of the best way to handle it.

Pink background. White fluffy dog sitting and looking happy. A small white kitty with grey pointy ears is in front of her walking to the camera.
Photo by Fauna

Give it a thought

Asking myself those questions helped me a lot in making the decision on adopting a cat and welcoming Maia to my little family. I’m still learning from her and the beautiful relationship she has with Macarena.

Don’t be afraid of asking yourself those questions too, on making research or asking professionals for advice, get prepared, welcome that new furry member to your family the best way possible.

I hope you find this blog post useful if you are thinking of having a new dog/cat addition to your family, and if you already did, tell me how was your experience? I would like to read about it.

Ana, Maca and Maia

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We started this blog as a way to share our love for animal wellbeing. My momager Ana & I believe in the saying: “sharing is caring” and in the magic of the doggo-cat & hooman bond. We hope you get inspired with our content and our adventures.

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