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If you’ve been around the blog for awhile then you know that the Hubs and I have quite a lot of animals, one of which is a Great Dane. Now usually having multiple animals around Lila, the Great Dane, isn’t an issue because they’re birds that don’t both her or lizards that are in tanks. However, in January we adopted a new cat named Ghost and Lila’s patience went out the window! We needed to know how to integrate new pets but we needed to know what would work for our stubborn Lila and our rescue cat. These are the tips that helped us know how to integrate new pets with already established pets.
How to Integrate New Pets: Establish a Safe Space
The first thing that we did was establish a “safe space” for Ghost that was hers and where we knew Lila would not go. It just so happened that we had an extra room that was only being used to store an old TV and mattress so we thought that would be perfect for her. We set her up a litter pan, a bowl for her wet food, and a stand for her dry food and water in the corner and set out to get ready to litter box train her…which turns out she already was! However, during that time we did find out that she actually has a preference for the Purina® TIDY CATS® Litter. We actually tried multiple brands, including one that used walnuts as a base, and she just didn’t like them but she has no issues at all with any of the types of Purina TIDY CATS!
I did want to mention that if you are planning on litter box training a new cat as your new pet you may want to check out the promotion currently running at Petsmart. The way the promotion works is that you spend $40 on Purina products at Petsmart between June 1st and June 30th and then go here to upload your receipt before July 9, 2017 you’ll get a $10 Petsmart gift card mailed to your home. You will have to provide your contact information to have the card mailed to you and you will have to upload a copy of the receipt showing the $40 Purina purchase but then the $10 gift card will be mailed to your home in 4 – 8 weeks and you can use it on future purchases. Oh and you can redeem the offer for multiple gift cards for each $40 purchase you do!
I mentioned the litter as a good reason for checking out the Purina Petsmart promotion, however, it can also be used on different Purina based foods for both dogs and cats. We actually looked for the Purina® Beneful® Grain Free for Lila to try but our local Petsmart didn’t have it. We were able to get Ghost some Purina® Muse Cat Food, the Purina TIDY CATS Litter, AND some Purina® Friskies® Party Mix treats along with some other Purina products for her as well. We already knew she liked the TIDY CATS Litter and the Party Mix flavors are some of her favorite cat treats but the Muse is a new addition that we’re hoping that will work out with her. I’ll have to report back on that one in a vlog!
How to Integrate New Pets: Introduce Slowly
The next that we did after we had a safe space for Ghost established was let her fill safe in that space. For the first few days we did not introduce her to Lila or the other way around. We let Ghost get use to us, her new room, and the areas around that room. Once we were sure that Ghost was feeling somewhat comfortable we waited until Lila was settled into the living room and brought Ghost out to see here. We did it this way to keep that safe space safe (Lila has free reign of the house except that room and the backyard so she has plenty of safe spaces haha) for Ghost and to let Lila know she wasn’t being uprooted. We knew this was the way to go with Lila as in the past we had try to introduce pets to her immediately and she freaks out and just will not settle down. Waiting a few days for Lila to realize there was a new scent in the house, get use to it, and then bring Ghost in was totally the way to go and it worked for Ghost as well. We actually used these two toys of Lila’s to facilitate the process. We put one with Lila the day we brought Ghost in and one with Ghost. After a day or so we switched them allowing them to get use to the other’s scent. We actually did that once more before allowing them to meet.
How to Integrate New Pets: Provide Incentives
One of the things that we KNOW works with Lila is incentives. We tried house training her with a crate and without treats but it didn’t actually take until we introduced a reward system for when she went to the bathroom outside and a consequence system for when she went to the bathroom inside. Once that switch clicked in her brain it worked and we haven’t had any accidents in the house that weren’t due to an illness (knock on wood!). Coincidentally a reward system was also how we trained her to go to “puppy care” when we have to go to school, how to sit, etc. so we knew it would be the way to go for introducing her to Ghost. The first few days we only had them in the same room as one another but not near each other. If Lila misbehaved during that time, no treat, but if she was good then she got a treat. It took a bit but it took and now she only starts when Ghost startles her and doesn’t try to growl to scare her out of the room (ha!).
How to Integrate New Pets: Eat Together
Once Lila got comfortable with Ghost being in the room and having free reign to walk around the room we knew we could step it up a notch. The next step was to have them eating in the same room around the same time. They have actually not only mastered this but have progressed to being able to get treats at the same time right next to each other! The only times we have any issues is when Lila is feeling a little jealous and she’ll try to get a little rambunctious but we can actually tell when this is going to happen because she’ll be jealous with the other animals throughout the day as well.
How to Integrate New Pets: Final Thoughts
I think my only other piece of advice is to stick to a schedule and find what works for you and your pets. For example, we make sure to feed them treats around the same time everyday and we always make sure to use their favorite treats (I think even Lila likes the Purina Friskies Party Mix even though we try to keep her from eating it!) and I always let the Hubs do it because when he uses his “stern” voice both of them listen!
If you’re planning on purchasing any pet, or Purina specific products, make sure to think about the $10 gift card with $40 Purina purchase at Petsmart and let me know in the comments if you have any tips for introducing new and old pets.