1. Purchase the necessary paraphernalia. If this is your first household cat, you need all the bowls, litter boxes, toys, beds, and scratching post. If you have other cats, it is still good to obtain new ones to reduce aggression towards the newly adopted cat.
2. Begin immediately with confinement to lower stress and allow some time before being introduced to the entire house, other cats or dogs. The cat’s body language will tell you when it is time to introduce other pets and expand outside the confined room. It will most likely not be the first day and may be longer.
3. Feed small amounts of food on each side of the door to the new cat’s isolation area if you have other pets. The proximity with the sounds and smells will be associated with a positive experience of eating for both the newly adopted cat and other household pets.
4. Hand feed for the first few days during the isolation. Do not leave food down; instead insist they take the food by hand. If they are rough in taking the food, pull back your hand or close it. Open slowly when they respond gently. The key is to reward gentle behavior. Then use your other hand while they are eating to stroke and massage the newly adopted cat.
5. If the cat is fearful or hiding, try providing special treats. If they will not accept food or treats from your hand, leave some on the floor and come back in an hour. However, remember that providing free food instead of hand feeding will slow the socialization and bonding.
Provided by Dr. Rolan Tripp of The Animal Behavior Network. Visit www.animalbehavior.net for more information.
1. Always have the pet examined by a veterinarian. If not before the adoption, then immediately afterward. If you can do so before you become emotionally attached to the animal, you might avoid a mistake that could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars in veterinary services. Invest in a general health screening, especially when adopting an older pet, including a blood test to check the internal organs and overall health of the pet. Make sure the pet has the proper vaccinations, which can prevent a number of contagious viral and bacterial diseases. Also, have the stool checked for internal parasites.
2. Always do your homework before you go to adopt a pet. Not all pets are right for all people. Avoid adopting based purely on emotion or first impressions. Bringing home a pet that you can’t manage or isn’t suited for your lifestyle can make your family—and the pet itself—unhappy. Animals, especially dogs, vary considerably in temperament, activity level and sociability from one breed to another. Be practical and realistic in your approach: training may help, but will never completely transform the animal’s natural tendencies.
3. Be willing to make several visits before you choose. Don’t be in a hurry to adopt. Sure, adopting a pet is the right thing to do, but taking your time and getting the right pet is far more important. Take your time and wait until it is the right fit for you, the pet, your household and your lifestyle.
4. Choose a selection committee. With a family, it is especially important that you discuss what type of pet you will get, how old, what breeds are acceptable and generally what expectations you all have for the pet. It can be a wonderful learning and bonding experience if you take your time, do research in advance and make the selection together. A committee—even if it’s only two people—will also make better decisions. Make sure to get expert input: talk with knowledgeable people about your choices.
5. Be willing to consider a mixed-breed pet. Too often, mixed-breed pets are passed over in favor of purebred animals. The truth is, mixed breeds tend to have less congenital and hereditary defects, and may display excellent traits from a variety of breeds. Often, people who adopt these “mutts” find them to be more loyal and appreciative, with plenty of vitality and character.
These days, it seems like we can’t stop talking about the economy. In the newspaper or on TV, the radio or the Internet, it’s a constant drone: “recession, recession, recession.”
And no wonder: unless you live in a cave someplace, the economy affects almost every aspect of your life, including your family pets: your beloved dog or cat.
In our society, pets are more like family these days. Most of the dog owners who took part in a recent American Kennel Club survey, for example, said that they buy Christmas presents for their pets, spending up to $50. Some, of course, spend much more than that. In the current recession, 69% percent of these people said they would rather spend less on friends or extended family members than to skimp on Fido’s presents!
Plus, there’s more good news for pets: a whopping 96% of latte-loving survey takers would give up their fancy coffee drinks before they would cut back on pet expenses. And 97% would give up luxuries like massages or spa treatments.
Other cutbacks dog owners would be willing to make?
- 97% would skip their favorite restaurants and eat at home more often.
- 94% would spend less on new clothes
- 88% would skip buying new car or buy a less expensive model
- 72% would give up their gym membership
Yes, some pets may have to live with less during the recession, but it seems that most Americans would rather go without luxuries than keep their furry family members from enjoying the finer things. Kind of makes you think life in the doghouse might not be so bad, eh?
It was my dog’s groomer that brought it to my attention: my Labradoodle, Murphy, had just gotten a sleek trim for summer when the groomer and I were chatting.
“He sure is a big boy,” she said.
“I know!” I said with pride. One of the largest Labradoodles I’ve seen, he’s just a few inches shorter than I am when he stands on his hind legs.
“Um, big, like sort of round, I mean,” said the groomer.
Uh oh. Was my dog fat? A trip to the scales confirmed that he had gained almost 20 pounds since last fall. How had I let this happen?