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I keep a dog kennel in my home. It's not a large one, but not a really small one either. It's made for a medium size dog. When not needed, it's taken apart and stored under a bed or wherever. But when I'm bringing a new baby into the home, I put the new one into the kennel in the middle of the living room. If it's a kitten, I set it up with food, water, a small litter box, some toys, and a small bed. For a puppy, I set it up with a small bed, food water, and some toys.
I do not use a towel or a blanket, they get all messed up and wind up taking up most of the floor space in the kennel. And as for the kitten, it'll end up in the litter box and really make a mess. I use a small covered pad or a small pillow instead. Just big enough for the baby to sleep on. This will leave plenty of space on the kennel floor to play.
The first day, the newcomer stays in the kennel, and I give the current pets lots of extra loving so that they know they aren't being replaced. Of course, the puppy gets taken outside to do his business, but otherwise the newbie stays in the kennel. During this time, the current pets are allowed to walk around the kennel as much as they want as long as it's just to sniff and check things out. The first growl and they get chased away. The newcomer will probably growl some (especially new kittens), but this is to be expected. They will learn that these new animals can't get at them and that they are friendly.
The second day, I start bringing the newcomer out to be loved on for a few minutes as often as I can, preferably every 2-3 hours. I don't allow the current pets to come too close yet, but they are allowed to watch from across the room. I do this for 2-3 days.
The next step is to allow the current pets (one at a time only!) to come over and sniff while I am holding the newcomer. I don't allow them to poke their noses in to inspect, just to lightly sniff. And only one at a time or the newbie will be overwhelmed. I do this each time I bring the newbie out to be loved on, and for 2-3 days.
Once the newbie has settled down and gotten accustomed to the current pets coming around I will open the kennel door, but I do not bring the newbie out. This is only done while I am in the room! If I leave the room, even if only for a second, the kennel door is closed with the newcomer inside. Also, I do not allow the current pets to try to enter the kennel (and believe me they will!) This is the newbie's "safe place", and no other animals are allowed.
I do this for about a week. The newbie during this time will gradually build up its courage and will begin coming out on its own farther and farther into the room. After all this, the newcomer and the current pets should be used to each other and will more than likely even become friends.
At this point, I build a bed specifically for the newbie, usually out of a cardboard box. For a kitten, I set it up a little higher, but I attach an old towel or something that the kitten can climb on so that the other pets can't get to it. If there are other cats in the house, I make the opening just big enough for the kitten to get in there but not the older cats.
For a puppy, I use a cardboard box. Again, I make the opening just big enough for the puppy to get in there but not the older dogs or any cats in the house. Both of these cardboard puppy/kitten beds need to actually be mounted or attached to the spot they are to be located. This is to prevent not only the puppy/kitten from knocking it over, but also to prevent the older pets from knocking it over trying to get into it, and they definitely will.
These beds are important for the first few months to give the little ones a safe place to go to get away from things if it gets scared. Don't forget that everything around them is beyond gigantic, it's humongous! Also, older pets may get a little carried away sometimes in play and get a little rough, so the little one needs a place it can go to feel safe.
If you have one, or can get one from a thrift store or a yard sale, a covered cat box works fantastic for these beds. To make the opening smaller, you can attach some cardboard across the top part of the opening. As the little one grows you can cut the cardboard little by little to fit. You should also run a strip of duct tape all the way around it too, to prevent the lid from being knocked off, either by the older pets or by the little one while it's playing inside.
Once the little one gets some size on it so that it can hold its own with the older ones in play, you can take the top off the cat box and let it continue to be a bed, but the new one should be feeling a complete part of the family by now.
By using this method, I've never once had a problem introducing new ones into the family. And I have had pets for close to 60 years, so I have done this countless times. I know, it sounds like a lot of work, and it is. I'm not discounting that. But if you just throw them together you are apt to have fights, and maybe even a dead new one. Even if not, there will be a lot of unnecessary trauma to the little one. This method minimizes the trauma 100-fold.
By Cricket from Parkton, NC
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