“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.”


Josh Billings

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:39:03+00:00

Josh Billings

"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself."

“We have more to learn from animals than animals have to learn from us.”


Anthony Douglas Williams

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:36:48+00:00

Anthony Douglas Williams

"We have more to learn from animals than animals have to learn from us."

“Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”


Margaret Mead

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:30:15+00:00

Margaret Mead

"Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.”


Albert Schweitzer

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:43:07+00:00

Albert Schweitzer

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."

“Because the heart beats under a covering of hair, of fur, feathers, or wings, it is, for that reason, to be of no account?”


Jean Paul

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:27:59+00:00

Jean Paul

"Because the heart beats under a covering of hair, of fur, feathers, or wings, it is, for that reason, to be of no account?"

“Time spent with cats is never wasted.”


Sigmund Freud

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:40:24+00:00

Sigmund Freud

"Time spent with cats is never wasted."

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.”


Josh Billings

Quotes
2017-11-16T22:13:05+00:00

Josh Billings

"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself."

“When I look into the eyes of an animal I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul.”


A.D. Williams

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:36:04+00:00

A.D. Williams

"When I look into the eyes of an animal I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul."

“The question is not, ‘Can they reason?’ nor ‘Can they talk?’ but ‘Can they suffer?'”


Jeremy Bentham

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:32:11+00:00

Jeremy Bentham

"The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor 'Can they talk?' but 'Can they suffer?'"

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”


James D. Miles

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:37:13+00:00

James D. Miles

"You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him."

“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.”


George Eliot

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:25:19+00:00

George Eliot

"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms."

“If I could be half the person my dog is, I’d be twice the human I am.”


Charles Yu

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:34:50+00:00

Charles Yu

"If I could be half the person my dog is, I'd be twice the human I am."

“Whoever said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend…never owned a dog.”


Author Unknown

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:36:27+00:00

Author Unknown

"Whoever said that diamonds are a girl's best friend...never owned a dog."

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”


Anatole France

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:34:23+00:00

Anatole France

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”


Anatole France

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:44:35+00:00

Anatole France

"Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened."

“In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.”


Terry Pratchett

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:51:52+00:00

Terry Pratchett

"In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this."

“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.”


Andy Rooney

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:52:41+00:00

Andy Rooney

"The average dog is a nicer person than the average person."

“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.”


Martin Buber

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:28:25+00:00

Martin Buber

"An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language."

“Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.”


Kinky Friedman

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:39:38+00:00

Kinky Friedman

"Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail."

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”


Groucho Marx

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:41:04+00:00

Groucho Marx

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

“I’m suspicious of people who don’t like dogs. But I trust a dog when it doesn’t like a person.”


Ron Burgundy

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:35:18+00:00

Ron Burgundy

"I'm suspicious of people who don't like dogs. But I trust a dog when it doesn't like a person."

“Before you get a dog, you can’t quite imagine what living with one might be like; afterward, you can’t imagine living any other way.”


Caroline Knapp

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:51:17+00:00

Caroline Knapp

"Before you get a dog, you can't quite imagine what living with one might be like; afterward, you can't imagine living any other way."

“We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do.”


Albert Schweitzer

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:26:12+00:00

Albert Schweitzer

"We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do."

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”


Charles Schulz

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:35:41+00:00

Charles Schulz

"Happiness is a warm puppy."

“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than dream: work.”


William Arthur Ward

Quotes
2017-11-16T22:10:07+00:00

William Arthur Ward

“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than dream: work.”

“The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.”


Leonardo da Vinci

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:24:25+00:00

Leonardo da Vinci

"The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men."

“I could not have slept tonight if I had left that helpless little creature to perish on the ground.”


Abraham Lincoln

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:29:23+00:00

Abraham Lincoln

"I could not have slept tonight if I had left that helpless little creature to perish on the ground."

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”


Robert A. Heinlein

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:42:32+00:00

Robert A. Heinlein

"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea."

“Animals share with us the privilege of having a soul.”


Pythagoras

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:27:33+00:00

Pythagoras

"Animals share with us the privilege of having a soul."

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”


Winston S. Churchill

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:32:41+00:00

Winston S. Churchill

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

“Man’s highest duty is to protect animals from cruelty.”


Emile Zola

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:28:59+00:00

Emile Zola

"Man's highest duty is to protect animals from cruelty."

“Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job.”


Franklin P. Jones

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:41:54+00:00

Franklin P. Jones

"Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job."

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”


Mahatma Gandhi

Quotes
2017-11-16T22:20:30+00:00

Mahatma Gandhi

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

“I care not much for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.”


Abraham Lincoln

Quotes
2017-11-16T17:08:36+00:00

Abraham Lincoln

"I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it."

“The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.”


Charles de Gaulle

Quotes
2017-11-16T21:54:11+00:00

Charles de Gaulle

"The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs."

Bringing a new pet home is an especially exciting event. We want all adopters (and their new pets) to have the best adoption experience possible! Please consider these factors before adopting a pet.

Find Your Pet

Post-Adoption Medical Care

All dogs and cats are vaccinated and treated for parasites before they become available for adoption. Read more about what’s included in your adoption fees for information about treatment in shelter.

At the time of adoption, you will receive paperwork detailing specific medical information about your new pet. The medical history report will list vaccinations, medications, and procedures your new pet has received during its stay at HOPE Humane Society. You will also receive a Health Confirmation form which includes detailed information about post-adoption medical care.

Please consult your veterinarian regarding other veterinary procedures that may be needed. Follow-up treatment such as additional de-wormings and booster vaccinations are your responsibility and will be at your expense.

Spay/neuter surgery

All pets, cats, rabbits, and ferrets will be sterilized prior to adoption.

If your recently adopted pet is experiencing post-surgical complications from sterilization surgery performed at HOPE, please call us at 479-783-4395 for assistance. Our veterinary staff can assist with treatment for post-surgical complications or you can return the animal within the 60-day trial period for an adoption credit.

Most animals do not have skin sutures from the sterilization surgery, but it’s possible your new pet may. Here’s what you need to know if your pet has surgical sutures.

What if my new pet gets sick?

While our veterinary services staff makes every effort to assess and report the health of your new pet, HOPE Humane Society is not a full-service veterinary hospital or clinic.

Once your adoption is finalized, you will be responsible for all medical bills and decisions regarding your pet. However, if a new health problem (not noted at the time of adoption) develops within 14 days after adoption, we can provide up to 30 days of oral or topical medication with a prescription from your veterinarian.

You must take your pet to an outside veterinarian for an examination. Many local veterinarians  offer a free examination within 14 days after the adoption date. If your pet is diagnosed with a new condition, your veterinarian can call or fax the prescription to the HOPE to be filled.

If you agree to diagnostics or treatment recommended by your veterinarian, or you obtain medications from your veterinarian, it will be at your own expense. HOPE Humane Society will not reimburse you or your veterinarian for medical expenses you may incur. 

If you cannot afford treatment, you can return the animal within the 60-day trial period for an adoption credit.

We recommend that you keep your newly adopted pet isolated from other pets until your veterinarian confirms its health. We are unable to treat resident pets who have been exposed to illness from your newly adopted pet.

If you have questions about post-adoption care, please call us at 479-783-4395.

Home healthcare

Begin a routine of home healthcare right away. Grooming sessions are a perfect time to check your pet for fleas, ticks, rashes, cuts, lumps, and any other physical irregularities. Changes in your pet’s behavior, appetite, or elimination habits may indicate a health problem. Always consult with a veterinarian if you notice a potential health problem or before proceeding with any new treatment. Never give any over-the-counter medication without first checking with your veterinarian. Human drugs can be fatal to animals!

Microchip and Nail clinics

Increase your chances of being reunited with your animal friend by joining us at one of our Microchip and Nail Trim clinics. This convenient, low-cost event makes it easy for you to get your pet microchipped, and, if you choose, have his/her nails clipped too. Microchipping is $30 plus tax and nail trims are $15 plus tax. Anal gland expression is also offered at $20 plus tax.

The Cost of Owning an Animal

Consider the initial and on-going costs of a new pet. These costs may include:

  • Adoption fees
  • Food
  • Grooming
  • Obedience training
  • Pet supplies
  • Licensing
  • Veterinary care (these costs can easily amount to $400 or more within the first few weeks of adoption)

Pet Training

This online library contains tried-and-true methods for managing many common pet behavior problems as well as tools for evaluating situations that may require additional resources. Please browse the list of titles below and study the information that’s relevant to your particular situation. Try the solutions that are offered.

If your problem persists, please call us at 479-783-4395 to connect with a behavior counselor.

This online library and our expert staff assist HOPE Humane Society in carrying out its mission to reinforce the human-animal bond and reduce the number of surrendered animals.

General information

Dogs and cats

Cats

Dogs

For all dog owners
Dog parks and play
Behavior problems

Feeding Your Pet

HOPE Humane Society’s expert staff can help you determine the best food for you new pet. Read the general guidelines and feeding instructions below to help you determine how much food and how often you should be feeding your new friend.

Animals that become overweight are more susceptible to other major health issues, such as arthritis, diabetes, heart and respiratory disease, kidney disease, cancer and more. A regular feeding schedule and nutrient-rich food can keep your pet healthy and your veterinarian costs low.

If you have additional questions about your pet, contact us for free, compassionate advice and resources to address whatever animal issues you may be experiencing.

Kittens (up to 6 months old)

  • If your kitten doesn’t eat within 12 hours, offer canned food first, then start mixing canned with dry over the next several days.
  • Dry kitten food is recommended, but younger kittens may find it difficult to chew. Mix canned food in with dry to help the kitten eat as much as needed. Remove any uneaten canned food within a few hours.
  • Provide a plentiful supply of dry food all day.
  • Wash and refill the water bowl daily, keeping fresh water available at all times.
  • Provide foods listed as “nutritionally complete.” Never give milk, tables scraps, or bones to your kitten.
  • If your kitten won’t eat within the first 24 hours, contact your veterinarian.

Cats (6 months or older)

  • Feed adult cats no more than twice a day.
  • “Free feeding” isn’t recommended — it’s difficult to monitor how much your pet is eating. Some hearty eaters will quickly become obese.
  • Provide foods listed as “nutritionally complete.”
  • Use the pet food manufacturer’s feeding guidelines printed on the bag only as a guideline.
  • If you can’t feel the cat’s ribs when you run your fingers lightly over the rib cage, your cat is overweight. Your veterinarian can help you devise a weight-reducing plan for your cat.
  • Slowly cut back food if your cat is overweight and consider various “light” or diet pet foods designed for less active cats.
  • Never withhold food for more than one day.
  • Remove any uneaten moist food within a few hours.
  • Wash and refill water bowl daily, keeping fresh water available at all times.
  • If your cat won’t eat within the first 24 hours, contact your veterinarian.

Puppies (up to 6 months old)

  • Dry puppy food is recommended.
  • Remove any uneaten food after 15-20 minutes. Don’t let your puppy snack all day — regular feeding times establish regular elimination patterns.
  • Feed your puppy four times a day until six months of age, then twice a day after that.
  • Feed your puppy as much as will be eaten in 10-15 minute intervals. If overeating occurs, offer smaller, more frequent meals.
  • If your puppy doesn’t eat within 24 hours, offer canned food (plain chicken or beef), then start mixing with dry over the next several days.
  • Wash and refill the water bowl daily, keeping fresh water available at all times.
  • Provide foods listed as “nutritionally complete.”
  • Never give milk, table scraps, or bones to your puppy.
  • If your puppy or adult dog hasn’t eaten for more than 24 hours, even after being offered canned food, contact your veterinarian.

Dogs (6 months or older)

  • Adult dogs should be fed no more than twice a day.
  • Put the food bowl on the floor for 15 minutes and then remove it, whether your dog has eaten or not. Don’t feed anything until the next mealtime. An adult dog won’t refuse to eat long enough to cause physical harm.
  • Dry food is recommended. You may provide canned food, but it will cost more and your dog may require more frequent dental care. Avoid extremely rich varieties of canned food as they may cause diarrhea.
  • Provide foods listed as “nutritionally complete.”
  • “Free feeding” isn’t recommended — it’s difficult to monitor how much your pet is eating, and some hearty eaters will become obese.
  • Regular eating times will help a dog establish regular elimination patterns.
  • Slowly cut back on food if your dog is overweight and consider various “light” or diet foods designed for less active dogs.
  • Don’t panic if your dog eats poorly for a few days after arrival. Stick with the same dry food. Add some canned food if nothing else is working, but stay away from table scraps.
  • Wash and refill the water bowl daily, keeping fresh water available at all times.

Getting Started With Your New Pet

Your pet will need time to adjust to its new home, and the transition may be somewhat stressful. An animal that displays a happy, playful attitude at the shelter may act wary and fearful in a new environment.

Watch for cues about how your pet is feeling. If your pet seems timid, try to move slowly, or just sit in the same room reading a book and let your pet come to you. If your pet is full of energy and ready to play, get out the toys right away. But be cautious. Pets can be both scared and full of energy. Modify your actions to make your new pet feel welcome. The care you take with your own behavior in early days will pay off in the future as your pet learns that you are someone to trust.

Resist giving your pet the run of the house

Many animals coming from the shelter have been in a cage or kennel for days or weeks before arriving at your home. To have the run of an entire house can be overwhelming, especially if it happens too fast. Resist the temptation to let your pet run loose in the house during this first week, especially if you have other pets.

Dogs

Give your new dog a week or more to settle in and feel comfortable with her new environment. If your new puppy or dog seems comfortable and relaxed, meaning not hiding and is willing to come to you for affection and food, you can provide access to other areas of your home.

If your new dog is your only pet, you can give him the chance to explore. Before you begin, be sure any off-limits areas (basement, attic, garage) are not accessible, so the first big tour doesn’t end up in a frantic search.

Try introducing your dog to other parts of your house while on leash, so you can provide understanding of where and where not to go. On your first tour, walk around each room and let your pet sniff everything. If your pet tries to jump on something off-limits, calmly redirect him to an appropriate area. Pet or play in these accessible areas to associate these locations with positive things. Depending on your dog’s nature, you may need to give several “guided tours” on a leash before your pet understands how to behave in the house and which areas are accessible. Puppies should stay in a limited area in your home where you can supervise them until they are house-trained.

Some animals respond very well to an expanded living area. Others become frightened and retreat. If your pet seems more nervous now that you have given more access to the house, slow down the introduction process to match comfort level. Some dogs feel safest in a relatively small area, only willing to explore other parts of the home if you accompany them. Every animal is different. Get to know what your pet prefers and try to support those preferences.

Cats

Because cats are more “creatures of habit” than dogs, a cat may choose to hide under a bed or in a closet for the first few days. Don’t force interactions. Set up a small, quiet area for your new cat to help establish a safe and secure environment.

Give your new cat a week or more to settle in and feel comfortable with her new environment. It’s best to confine to a single, quiet room with the cat’s own litterbox, food dish, and a box or bed. Use this time to make sure your new pet is healthy by keeping your appointment for the free physical exam.

If your cat  seems comfortable and relaxed, meaning not hiding and is willing to come to you for affection and food, you can provide access to other areas of your home.

If you have other pets, follow the steps for successful introductions.

If your new cat is your only pet, you can provide the chance to explore. Before you begin, be sure any off-limits areas (basement, attic, garage) are not accessible, so the first big tour doesn’t end up in a frantic search.

When you’re ready, open the door from your pet’s room and sit just outside. Encourage your cat to come to you, then reward with attention or a treat. Staying seated, let your cat wander freely. If the cat seems comfortable after 15 minutes, get up and go about your business in the house, but stay near enough to make sure there is no trouble. Restrict free time to less than an hour at first, but gradually lengthen it until your cat or kitten is out in the house whenever you’re home. Once your cat has found places to play and relax, move food, water, and litterbox to their permanent location. If you’re moving the litterbox a long distance (from an upstairs bedroom to the basement, for example), set up a second box in the new location, but leave the first one in your cat’s special room until the second one is used on a regular basis.

If there are places your cat is not allowed to go – tabletops, counters, plant shelf – establish those rules during the first tour of the house. Placing double-sided tape on counters and tables can help teach your cat to avoid these surfaces. Rattle a can full of pebbles as your cat approaches off-limits areas to help associate the behavior with an unpleasant noise. Don’t allow your cat the run of the house when you’re not around until you’re confident the “house rules” are understood.

Some animals respond very well to an expanded living area. Others get frightened and retreat. If your cat seems more nervous now that you have given more access to the house, slow down the introduction process to match comfort level. Some cats feel safest in a relatively small area, only willing to explore other parts of the home if you  accompany them. Every animal is different. Get to know what your pet prefers and try to support those preferences.

It’s a jungle out there

Keep your cat indoors. Predators, disease, fast-moving cars, and toxic chemicals are just a few of the dangers cats face when allowed to roam outdoors. If you want your cat to experience the great outdoors, use a harness and leash and accompany him as he explores your yard. Always keep a collar and ID tag on your cat in the event he should accidentally get off leash or escape the house.

Introducing your pet to resident pets

If you already have pets at home, you are no doubt looking forward to a happy, harmonious relationship between all your animals. Follow the guidelines listed here to give everyone the best chance for a lasting friendship.

How to introduce dogs

When you’re introducing two dogs to each other, first impressions matter. How the dogs interact in their first few encounters can set the tone for their entire relationship, so follow these steps to set their relationship up for success.

Let them get to know each other slowly and carefully

Throwing them together in the back yard and letting them work it out can lead to heartbreak, and occassionally serious injury, if the integration fails.

Have the dogs meet on leash

Keep this meeting on neutral territory like a neighbor’s yard, a training center, or a tennis court. Have both dogs on-leash. Take the dogs for a walk together, keeping 10 feet between them so that they can’t greet each other or stare. The idea is to acclimate them to each other’s presence without causing tension.

Have the dogs meet with leashes dragging

Keep this meeting on neutral territory. Avoid problem areas like gates, doorways, or closely confined space: The more room they have to move, the less tension there will be. Wait two minutes while they sniff each other, then call them away. If they start to play and it seems to be going well, let them play for a few minutes and then end the session. End each initial session on a good note!

Have the dogs meet at home

First in the yard, then inside the house. Before the in-house introduction, take the resident dog out to the yard, then bring your new dog inside. Bringing the new dog inside to meet your resident dog can cause a negative reaction. Keep each interaction short and pleasant. If signs of tension arise, separate the dogs immediately and try again later. Remember that the introduction will set the tone for their relationship, so it’s important to set everyone up for success.

Keep the dogs separate while you are away

Either in separate rooms or crates. This is both to prevent fighting and injuries, and to prevent your new dog from developing behavior like chewing and housesoiling.

Work to prevent conflict

While dogs can settle minor disputes with each other (such as growling the other off of a toy or their own food bowl), they shouldn’t be limiting each other’s access to you, your family or common areas of the home. In multi-dog households, there isn’t usually a dominant dog or submissive dog. Instead, dogs’ roles change depending on the context involved. For example, a dog that claims access to a favorite toy may let the other dog claim the couch. Reward polite behavior and manage the environment to prevent conflicts from developing.

For more information, see the booklet “Feeling Outnumbered? How to Manage and Enjoy Your Multi-Dog Household” by Karen London, Ph.D. and Patricia McConnell, Ph.D.

How to introduce a dog and cat

Despite the stereotype, many dogs and cats learn to live together peacefully. Be patient and take the introduction process slowly, but know that whether or not your pets get along will also depend on their individual personalities. Follow these steps to maximize the chances of success.

Keep the pets separate at first

Keep the pets separate for at least the first 3-4 days. Prevent any contact until your new pet has had his vet checkup and been cleared of illness. Confine your new pet in a sanctuary room with the door closed or a separate floor of your house. The goal is to allow the pets to get used to each other’s presence without face-to-face contact. Even if they can’t see each other, they can hear and smell each other.

Feed them on opposite sides of a closed door

The idea is to teach them to associate the presence of the other pet with pleasant things, such as food. With each feeding, move their food bowls a little closer to the closed door. Continue this process until each pet can eat calmly right next to the door.

Teach basic commands

If your new pet is a dog, start teaching him basic obedience cues, such as “sit” and “down.” Keep training sessions short, pleasant, and rewarding for the dog.

Begin face-to-face meetings

Once your pets can eat their food calmly right next to the door, conduct meet and greets in a common area of the house. Don’t use either animal’s sanctuary area. Keep the first few sessions short and calm. Keep the dog on a leash and let the cat come and go as he wishes. Do not restrain either pet in your arms, as injury could result if either pet behaves aggressively. Ask the dog to sit and reward him with small tasty treats for calm behavior. Give your cat treats as well. If either pet demonstrates aggression, calmly distract and redirect them. Toss a toy for the cat to lure him from the room, or call the dog’s name and reward his attention. Return the pets to their confinement areas.

Repeat sessions daily

Repeat these face-to-face sessions daily. Save your pets’ favorite treats for when they are together. If the cat attempts to leave the room, allow him to do so, and do not let the dog chase him. Try to end each session before either pet shows stress or aggression.

Allow pets loose together

When the animals appear to be getting along well, allow them loose in the room together, keeping the dog’s leash attached and dragging on the floor so that you can step on it and prevent him from chasing the cat if he gets excited. If tension erupts, go back to the earlier introduction steps and repeat the process. Make sure the cat has access to a dog-proof sanctuary room at all times.

Proceed with caution

Continue to separate the pets when you are not there to supervise.

Adding a second cat to your household

Thinking of adopting a second cat? Here are some tips that can increase your chances for establishing a peaceful multi-cat home.

Selecting your second cat
  • Don’t worry too much about the gender of the cats involved. Age and temperament are the most important factors.
  • Adult cats will usually accept a new kitten much more easily than they will accept a new adult cat. Cats are territorial, and your cat may resent an adult feline intruder.
  • If you’re able to choose from a group of kittens, avoid a kitten that’s hissing, growling or engaged in serious battle with his mates.
  • Prefer to adopt an adult cat? Success depends largely on the personality of your present cat: if he’s easygoing and the new cat is also laid back, you may have little trouble if you introduce them slowly and correctly.
Introducing your new cat to your resident cat

Cats are solitary and highly territorial creatures that often require weeks or months to adjust to changes in their environment and lifestyle. For that reason, first impressions are extremely important when meeting other household pets. Cats that are introduced too quickly and fight may never learn to coexist peacefully.

  • When you bring your new cat home, confine him to one room with his own litterbox, bed, food, and water (we refer to this as a “sanctuary room”) for a week, or at least until he has been examined by your vet.
  • At the next meal, place the two cats’ bowls on either side of the door to that room. The aim is for the cats to associate the pleasurable activity of eating with the presence of the other cat. Gradually move the bowls closer with each feeding. When they can eat calmly with both bowls directly across from each other, open the door a crack – for just a few seconds – so they can see each other as they eat.
  • Once the new cat seems comfortable in his new surroundings, is eating well, and using his litter box, confine your resident cat in another room and let the new cat explore the house. This allows the new cat to come in contact with the resident cat’s scent without direct contact. Another option is to exchange the cats’ bedding for a night.
  • Monitor the cats’ first encounter closely and limit the time they spend together at first. Some display of fearful or aggressive behavior (crouching, hissing, ears back) is to be expected, but you want to avoid letting them establish a pattern of aggressive or fearful behavior, which may be difficult to change. If these behaviors intensify, separate the cats again and go back to step one.
  • If an actual fight breaks out, throw a towel over them (to distract them) or make a loud noise to separate them. Lure the new cat back to his sanctuary room (don’t pick him up while he’s still aroused) and give them a few days to calm down. Do not hold either cat in your arms during introductions: if either one reacts aggressively to the other cat, you could be scratched or bitten.
  • Continue to provide supervised encounters with both cats, watching closely for signs of tension or aggression. If one cat appears to be freezing, staring or fixating on the other cat, have some treats or fun toys nearby to direct them away from each other. This will also continue to teach them that good things happen when the other cat is near.
  • Be sensitive to what a big change this is for your resident cat. Give him the security of his usual routine and his own special time with you.
  • Keep in mind that “success” doesn’t necessarily mean your cats will be best buddies. Some cats become bonded to one another while others spend the rest of their lives avoiding and hissing at each other. Realize that either of these scenarios might happen. Your goal in facilitating introductions is to set the stage for the cats to peacefully share their living quarters, but understand you simply cannot “make” them like each other.
  • This process takes time: count on 2-4 weeks if integrating a kitten and an adult, and 4-6 weeks (or longer) if integrating two adults.
  • While following this protocol will maximize your chances of success, know that some cats simply never learn to coexist peacefully. If you have followed the introduction process and do not see any improvement after a month’s time – especially if one cat is terrorizing or injuring the other – long-term success may be unrealistic. Rehoming one of the cats or keeping them permanently separate may be necessary for everyone’s safety.

Children and pets

Caring for a pet can be a wonderful way to teach your children respect and compassion for all living things. Make it clear to children that pets are not toys. Animals must be treated gently and handled with care. Young children must never be left alone or unsupervised, with any animal, even for a moment. Although children can participate in light-care activities like grooming and playtime, a parent must be fully prepared to be the primary caretaker.

Dogs and puppies

  • Even the most docile of dogs can cause harm if teased or frightened or if his/her prey drive is triggered. As a parent, it’s up to you to teach your dog appropriate behavior, as well as teaching your children how to behave around pets.
  • Socialization and obedience training are key to preventing undesirable behaviors in dogs. Call us at 479-783-4395 if you need assistance with your pet.
  • Always supervise your children’s interactions with any pet. An adult should be present to ensure a safe and positive experience for both child and pet. Some suggestions include:
  • Teach your children to treat animals with respect. Show them how to approach and touch dogs properly. They must never provoke a dog into growling, barking or lunging.
  • Help children understand canine body language so they can recognize when a dog is friendly, fearful or aggressive.
  • When a child greets a dog, move slowly and offer the dog the back of a hand to sniff before petting. Petting the dog under the chin or on the chest will be less threatening to the dog than petting the top of the head.
  • Children should not encourage a dog to chase them. Quick movements and high-pitched voices can trigger a dog’s attack-and-chase response.
  • Avoid tug-of-war games, as this sets up a competition between child and dog. These games often over-stimulate a dog and can encourage the dog to grab at hands and clothes.
  • Teach children to respect a dog’s privacy. Never allow a child to disturb a dog while eating, chewing on a bone or toy, or sleeping. Dogs are naturally territorial and may growl, snap or bite to protect their possessions.
  • Tell children not to look a dog directly in the eye. In dog language, a stare is a threat and may trigger the dog to act dominantly or aggressively.

Cats and kittens

Your new cat or kitten will need several days to adjust to its new home, so limit your child’s interaction to gentle petting, and only when the cat approaches. Do not allow young children to pick up, carry or put their faces close to the animal. Sudden movements and loud noises can easily frighten your pet, so children should speak and sit quietly around the cat.