8 Cat Introduction Tips on WGN Radio


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When on the radio, there’s little I enjoy more than helping people and their pets. Or trying to do that. As you can listen to HERE  on my last WGN radio Steve Dale’s Pet World show, I sometimes struggled a bit to answer texts. It’s because I obviously can’t ask any follow up questions, and only can read the information texted to me.

One text question which, in particular, touched me is from a dog owner who recently lost her dog to seizures. She asked about whether she did all she could and says she feels “guilty.” The text didn’t indicate any medical details. Besides, I’m not a veterinarian qualified to answer any of those. So, I assume, like most people, she did all she could. People do feel guilty because they care so much, always think they may have done more. Rarely, though, is that true – people typically do the absolute best they can. This was not an elderly dog either, really sad.

Cat Introduction 101

I also offer eight tips on introducing a new cat into the home:

  1. Don’t physically introduce the cats, don’t even think about it!
  2. Provide a sanctuary room for the newcomer, a second bedroom, a den or office may be preferable. Provide a litter box, somewhere to scratch and toys. Of course, food and water. And you! Bond with the new cat by visiting the room often, if even only to read and watch TV. Also, periodically take a fishing pole-type toy and play with the new cat. But don’t forget about playing with your existing cat(s). Play is also a stress-buster.
  3. Plug in Feliway Classic pheromone diffusers in the room the new cat is in, and the room(s) the existing cat(s) most frequently hang out.
  4. After about a week to 10 days, gradually begin to exchange items belonging to each of the cats. Take toys and even bedding from the sanctuary room, and place where the existing cat(s) lives. And similarly take toys and bedding from the existing cat(s) and relocate to the sanctuary room for a few days, and then return back again. Exchanging scents is nearly as impactful for cats as a face to face meeting. You may even place some of these items near the food bowl or place treats on or near them so the cats make a positive association.
  5. About three weeks in, take the cat in the sanctuary room, and allow him or her to check out the house, depositing his or her scent along the way. Encourage any cheek rubbing. Take the existing cats place them in a room behind a closed door as this happens. Similarly, seal off the newcomer and allow existing cat(s) to check out the sanctuary room. Repeat this several times a week.
  6. Before cats are introduced plug in the Feliway MultiCat diffuser where cats will be introduced to decrease anxiety.
  7. When they are introduced finally physically introduced to one another, be sure to supervise the introductions, and deliver tuna or salmon to distract. Also, to associate the positive. It’s as if every time you I receive some new person in your life, you get $100 – over time, you learn it’s beneficial to see this person.
  8. When the cats finally do come together, some hissing and posturing is normal. However, you don’t want to see fighting. Fights, which include vocalizations, only disintegrate relationships. If that happens, the can’t aren’t ready – no matter what you think, it’s what the cats think that counts.

I also talk about my hopes and resolutions for pets for 2019.

And there’s my crazy but wonderful elephant experience in Thailand.

 

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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