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Adopting A Companion

Ten Commandments Of Animals | Ten Reasons To Adopt An Older Dog Or Cat | Adopting Your First Cat | Adopting Your First Dog | Adding Another Cat To Your Household | Adding Another Dog To Your Household | Integrating Cats And Dogs Into Your Household

Ten Commandments Of Animals

The author of the following is unknown. Read this from the perspective of a companion animal.

  • My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you will be painful for me. Remember that before you bring me home.
  • Give me time to understand what you want from me.
  • Place your trust in me - it's crucial to my well-being.
  • Don't be angry at me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You may have your work, your entertainment and your friends. I have only you.
  • Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don't understand your words, I understand your voice.
  • Be aware that however you treat me, I'll never forget.
  • Remember before you hit me that I have teeth that can crush the bones of your hand. Yet I choose not to bite you.
  • Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, or I've been in the sun too long, or my heart is getting old and weak.
  • Take care of me when I get old. You, too, will grow old.
  • Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, "I can't bear to watch it" or "Let it happen in my absence." Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember I love you.

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Ten Reasons To Adopt An Older Dog Or Cat

Although the following will not apply always, they are true in most cases.

  • No housebreaking.
  • Teething issues, such as chewing, are in the past.
  • Kittens and puppies act like kittens and puppies � with an adult, you can evaluate the animal's actual personality.
  • What you see is what you get -� an adult dog will not grow 6 inches and gain 50 pounds.
  • Adults usually will sleep through the night �- they�ll adjust to your schedule.
  • An adult may be more appropriate for your home situation �- for example, a kitten and a small child aren't necessarily safe for each other; if you're a single person who works, an adult dog won't need a walk in the middle of the day.
  • Most adult animals are playful, but not constantly so �- they are companions, with a more constant energy level.
  • You can teach an old dog new tricks.
  • An adult cat won't climb your curtains.
  • You will save a life.

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Adopting Your First Cat

If you've never shared your home with a cat, or would like to learn more about doing so, we have compiled a list of Web sites and reference books that may be helpful. Topics include choosing a cat, training, behavior problems, and health.

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Adopting Your First Dog

If you've never shared your home with a dog, or would like to learn more about doing so, we have compiled a list of Web sites and reference books that may be helpful. Topics include choosing a dog, training, behavior problems, and health.

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Adding Another Cat To Your Household

When a new cat meets your resident cat, the two need time to get used to one another. Careful planning is essential to a successful introduction of a new cat into your home. Take it slowly. A pattern of fear and aggression can be established in one or two encounters, and is much harder to break than to avoid. A certain amount of hissing and posturing is to be expected, but don't risk an all-out fight. When in doubt, wait a few more days before proceeding to the next step.

Ideally, the New Cat would be younger and smaller than the Resident Cat, and would be a sexually immature or spayed/neutered member of the opposite sex. The more the introduction deviates from the ideal, the more difficult it may be. This does not mean it is impossible, only that it may take longer. Avoid bringing a rambunctious kitten into a home with cats older than eight years; think carefully about any age difference greater than five years. Also note that strays and hand-raised kittens often have a more difficult time adjusting to others.

Full story: The Step-By-Step Process

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Adding Another Dog To Your Household

Most dogs will enjoy having a canine companion in the home. We've compiled some suggestions for making the introduction of a new dog a smooth process.

Full story: List Of Suggestions And Tips

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Integrating Cats And Dogs Into Your Household

Puppies and kittens that are raised together often will grow up as friends, not knowing that they're not supposed to get along. Many times, however, you may want or need to add a dog to a household with cats, or vice-versa.

A general rule for the easiest integration is that the new animal should be younger and of the opposite sex, even between dogs and cats. It may be easier to bring in a puppy to a cat household, as the puppy won't be as big or as threatening as a dog, and may not think of a cat as something to chase. On the other hand, an active, playful puppy may be more annoying or frightening to an adult cat than would be an adult dog that behaved calmly around cats. Shelters and rescue groups usually can tell you if a dog or cat is comfortable with the other species.

Also know that certain breeds of dogs are less likely to be safe around cats. This includes terriers and sight hounds (due to a stronger prey drive), and herding breeds (who may nip at the cats' heels, trying to herd them). Many breed rescue groups will test whether these dogs are "cat safe," but think carefully and go slowly with the introductions. Generally safe are hounds (such as beagles and bassets - who readily will accept the cat as a member of the "pack") and bird dogs or retrievers (bred to have a "soft mouth" and not to hurt anything). The same tendencies apply to mixed breeds with these ancestries. Of course, each animal is an individual and may behave differently.

Full story: Steps To Follow, More Tips

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