Whether or not your pets get along depend on their personalities. Your current pet may view a new pet as a threat; there may be a few scuffles as each animal establishes his “place in the pack”. Do not interrupt them if there is no danger of injury, and provided they are supervised at all times.
Some pets will merely tolerate each other. Others will become great companions (like my own two dogs and cat). Here are a few tips for introducing a new pet into your home.
Always supervise your pets until you are absolutely sure they get along. Until then, separate your pets by confining at least one of them to its own room. Only allow them to interact with each other with your supervision. It may take them hours, days, weeks, or even months for your pets to adjust fully to one another.
Introduce your pets indoors in controlled situations. Keep your dogs on a leash and do not tolerate any aggressive behaviour. If you are introducing a cat to a dog, do not allow the dog to chase or corner the cat – even if it’s out of playfulness or curiosity.
When introducing a cat to a dog, do NOT hold the cat in your arms. A frightened or nervous cat may scratch.
Allow your new pet to familiarize itself with its new home. Temporarily confine existing pets to a room to give your new pet a chance to feel more comfortable with its surroundings.
Give your pets separate food and water bowls. If you are introducing cats, also provide separate litter boxes. Feed your new and existing pets in different locations.
Be especially careful when introducing dogs or cats to caged animals. Dogs and cats can live in harmony with rabbies, guinea pigs, birds, etc… but please introduce them under strictly controlled supervision. Keep in mind that cats are very agile, so placing a cage high up on a shelf doesn’t necessarily protect the caged pet. Don’t take any chances – one mistake could be fatal to your caged pet.
Give them time. Do not try to force your pets together; allow them to adjust at their own pace. Give all your pets – particularly the new one – time to gain confidence and decide when to face his or her new housemates.