Are Your Pets Ready for a New Cat? What to Consider Before You Adopt

The cat’s temperament and energy level will also be a big factor in her relationship with your existing pets. A very shy cat, for example, may see an overly energetic canine with no regard for personal space as a threat rather than as a companion.

In many cases, especially with animals without a clear socialization history, it’s wise to seek professional help in making the right decision on adoption. Your veterinarian, a reward-based trainer, an adoption counselor or the animal shelter’s rescue staff can provide insight and guidance during this process.

Put Them All Together

While it is important to look for signs of potential strife between your existing pets and the new cat, there are also ways to know that everyone is likely to get along just fine. If your current pet or pets and the potential adoptive cat have all had positive relationships with other animals of the coinciding species, this is a positive sign. So if your dog loves your current cat (or is missing a cat that is no longer with you) and the adoptive cat is coming from a home that had a dog, this may be a match made in heaven.

Pay attention as well to the personality and energy level of each pet’s previous animal companions, as this can help you find an appropriate match. A playful and high-energy cat, for instance, may do better with a compatibly confident and curious feline as a playmate, while a more laid-back cat may be a better match for your couch-potato dog.

Finally, a word of caution: Be wary of adopting a cat as a potential solution to a problem situation with a current pet. It can be dangerous to treat a cat as the answer to another pet’s troubling behavior, such as being unfriendly with other animals or becoming anxious when left alone. There are no guarantees that the new cat will serve as your current animal’s security blanket or socialization coach, and you may actually be putting the cat in harm’s way. Deal with your current pet’s issue before you add another pet to the family. If you need help, talk with your veterinarian about a referral to a trainer or veterinary behaviorist.

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