Puppy Care

Before you bring your new, furry baby home, you need to make sure your home and yard are safe for your puppy as well as safe FROM your puppy.  The process is similar to baby-proofing for a toddler.

  • Puppies, like babies, put everything in their mouths.  Chewing is a major activity.  If it is something puppy can reach, it will probably get chewed.   To keep puppy from chewing up items that could be dangerous for him or frustrating for you, follow these simple tips:
    • If it is on the floor/ ground it is fair game.  In other words, keep things out of puppy reach, such as shoes/ socks, books, cords, remotes, waste baskets, etc.
    • Provide your pup with chew friendly items.  Chewing is a happy, engaging activity for puppies.  Let them try healthy chews, such as bully sticks, or toys specifically designed for chewing.  Avoid rawhide products and bones that can splinter and be swallowed. Do not leave your puppy alone or crated with anything they can potentially chew up or choke on.
    • Bitter Apple spray can be used to discourage your pup from mouthing/ chewing items, such as couch corners, chair legs, etc.

Kitten Care

Kittens are fascinated by anything that moves and by most things that they can move around with their paws. They love to climb and will climb almost anything they can. These babies need to sharpen their claws and also enjoy stretching their claws. Kittens, like human babies, love to put things in their mouths.

  • Put away breakable items in areas that the kitten might climb.
  • Store yarn/ needles and other craft supplies in a secure place.
  • Use covered waste containers.
  • Keep the floor clear of rubber bands, strings, twine, etc.
  • Keep your toilet lid down
  • Keep cloth drapes out of reach.  If you have blinds, secure the pull cords.
  • Cover/ secure electric cords.
  • Remove houseplants that could be nibbled on.
  • Keep your clothes dryer closed

7 Tips to Introduce a Kitten to an Older Cat

1. Start to prepare before the kitten arrives

When the big day comes and you bring your kitten home, it may be tempting to introduce both kitties right away but hold off! It’s important to keep both cats separate for a while so they can adjust to the scent of a new cat. A good way to do this is to create individual, separate areas for each cat in the house. Each kitty will need their own toys, bed, litter box and food bowls, so make sure you’re prepared.

2. Introduce your cats by smell first

Encourage your senior cat to spend time in a separate room while you introduce your new kitten to the new surroundings. Your new kitty will quickly pick up on the smells around the house and know there’s another feline in residence. You can then swap them around, allowing the senior cat to wander around and, in turn, smell the new kitten’s scent. Remember to praise and reward both cats while they are learning that there’s a "new kid on the block."

3. Let them see each other

Step two of your cats’ introduction is visual contact! Before letting your furry friends loose in a room together, separate them by a screen or a gap in the door. Allow them to meet each other gently - when comfortable with each other they will sniff noses or rub against the door. This is your cue to let them meet face to face!

4. Support a calm, patient introduction

When your pets are ready to meet face to face, always be as calm and patient as possible! Remember that your resident cat needs to learn to share their territory and accept the new kitten. Older cats may also be less tolerant, so introductions should be very short initially before gradually increasing their time together.

On the other hand, the new kitten might be very skittish and want to explore, regardless of what the resident cat thinks! Always keeping an eye both cat’s body language. There may be some hissing at first, but be ready to step in if they start to fight!

5. Give treats

Don’t be surprised if your kitties don’t accept each other straight away. These things take time! To encourage bonding, you can use treats and encourage play when they act calmly and seem happy in each others company. Be sure to pet and praise your senior cat more often at this stage. Reassure them that they are not being replaced but instead are being given a new companion!

6. Watch how your pets react

Even after your pets seem comfortable with each other, keep an eye on them - there’s no guarantee that your cats will bond immediately. Watch for signs of stress and anxiety - decreased appetite, hiding for long periods of time, vocalizing, hostile actions or any unusual traits that continue for more than a few days may need to be investigated further!

Senior cats might react by sleeping in unusual places or not eating and drinking normally. Make sure your cat can access their litter box easily and that their normal exit routes are always available. It’s also important to check that your older cat’s eating and drinking habits have not changed - senior cats are prone to dehydration, and with a new feline friend joining their territory, they may not drink as regularly as before. If you are at all concerned about your cat, it’s wise to consider speaking to your vet.

7. Keep to a schedule to minimize stress

Cats like routine! Help your pet through this transition by keeping to a schedule for play time, feeding time and sleep time. Your resident cat’s schedule should not change just because she has a new companion. Keeping to the same routine will help your new kitty settle in, and minimize the stress of change for your resident cat.