many animal lovers one pet is not enough. Households often have an assortment
of pets including cats, dogs, gerbils, guinea pigs, fish, birds and more.
It is always wise to recognize a new pet’s needs and plan accordingly
prior to adoption. Yet there is even more to consider when adopting multiple
pets or bringing a new pet into home that already has animals. One important
aspect, typically recognized by most pet owners, is that all the animals
need to get along. Taking care in introducing pets and being aware of potential
conflicts will help reduce tensions between newly acquainted animals. Pets
can vary greatly in their ability to get along with one another. Some dogs
are great with cats, others shouldn’t be around cats at all. Some
cats love other animals, and others don’t. Be aware that while there
are a few cats that get along with small animals such as gerbils or birds,
this is always a risky combination as most cats have strong hunting instincts.
Even if they’ve shown no sign of aggression this doesn’t mean
that a small animal will continue to be safe. Keeping cats and small animals
safely separated is wise.
Space is the next consideration. Different pets require different amounts
of room to exercise and rest and relax comfortably. In multiple pet homes
some pets, particularly cats that share space with a dog, may need some
extra room to themselves. This is also common with older pets that may
need some quiet time away from eager and excitable younger animals, as
well as sensitive or high strung pets that also benefit from some alone
space. Also if there is a conflict between pets it is typically easier
to manage if each has their own separate area. Finally most pets will need
their space when they eat. A common conflict is when a pet’s food
is threatened particularly for dogs. This isn’t always a problem,
but it is wise to keep feeding areas separate until one knows their pets
reaction, and is particularly important if one animal is markedly smaller
or weaker than another. In homes around the country a variety of pets live
together happily. Some special consideration for each pet’s needs
can help facilitate this peaceful friendly situation.