Many times people want to have more than one pet. This may be multiple cats, birds, dogs, fish or combinations of these. Having multiple animals in the same household is highly dependent on the individual animals that are trying to live together. But there are guidelines that should be followed when deciding to attempt a multiple pet household. Some combinations are more difficult than others.
Small Mammals and Cats
This can be a difficult household to maintain due to a cat’s natural instinct to hunt. Gerbils, hamsters, rats and mice need to be kept in a secure cage to avoid a very negative interaction with the cat. The bird should also be kept in a place where it will not be harassed by the cat. This can cause stress and stress-related problems for the little animal. It is possible that if a cat is exposed as a kitten to these critters its hunting drive may be reduced. Even if they get along together they should always be supervised.
Birds and Cats
Birds can also bring out a cat’s hunting drive. Some cats may ignore a bird but the bird should still be kept in a secure cage. The bird should also be kept in a place where it will not be harassed by the cat. This can cause stress and stress-related problems for the bird.
Fish and Cats
When you own fish you usually do not have to worry about the fish leaving their home but you have to worry about feline invaders of the fish’s environment. You need to make sure the fish’s aquarium is secure so the cat cannot have access to the fish. Some cats will totally ignore fish while others will be enthralled with their presence. The easy part is that you do not have to worry about the personality conflicts as with other animal introductions.
Dogs and Cats
Quite often they are considered enemies but this is not true. They can very successfully be included in the same household. This of course depends on the dog breed and individual animals. Some dog breeds can be aggressive towards cats and this should be considered when choosing a dog or a cat. The best situation is to introduce a puppy and kitten when both animals are most accepting and adaptable. It is possible to introduce other combinations but they may take more work. Introductions should not be rushed and interactions should be monitored. There will probably be hissing, growling and swatting as they meet. Each animal should be given an escape route when they meet so they don’t feel trapped. Your veterinarian can give additional hints to make a smooth transition.
Cats and Cats
Cats can very successfully live together but not all will be friends. The best opportunity for a friendship between cats is to introduce two kittens. If you have an adult cat and want another it is usually easier for an adult to accept a kitten. A smaller animal is less threatening to the existing cat. Even if you have a very calm, accepting cat there could be hissing, growling and swatting. Don’t force your cats together and accept the fact that they may never be the best of friends. Most cats can live peacefully together but at times there may be disputes.