Before deciding to get a new pet, it would be beneficial to consider a variety of factors including:
- Your lifestyle
- Your availability
- Species differences
- Your current pet
- Your new pet
- Cost of pet ownership
Your lifestyle: A happy home for a pet includes playtime, social interactions, proper nutrition and medical attention, behavioural training, and many other ways of giving them a fun and interactive life. It is a good idea to think of the needs of this new animal and how much time you will be able to provide to both your new pet and your current pet(s).To help you define your lifestyle, we suggest you take a look at our "identifying your expectations" page.
Your availability: Spending an adequate amount of time with your new dog will help you create a positive, close relationship. If you have more than one pet, it is important that you spend individual time with each animal to nurture your relationship with each pet.
Species differences: Dogs are social creatures and tend to spend a lot of time with members in their social group. However, there are always some that may dislike being around other animals or become uncontrollable in uncertain situations. On the other hand, cats tend to be pretty attached to their territory, and will space themselves out and divide a house into individual territories in a multi-cat household. Cats form exclusive social groups and will ward off “strangers.” It may take cats a little bit longer to get used to a new pet in the household and slow introductions are important!
Your current pet: Choosing an animal that will fit in with your resident pet will help the introduction process a lot. Understanding the health, activity level, and personality of your current pet(s) and the new pet you are thinking of bringing home will allow you to foresee any problems and help accommodate them. For example, a slower, older dog may not get along with a high energy puppy that wants to play all day. Similarly, a shy kitten may be too young and fragile to stand up to the playful, large dog that wants to be her friend. If possible, have your current pet meet with a prospective pet to ensure they are compatible before acquisition.
Your new pet: : Choosing an animal that feels comfortable around other animals, specifically around the type of species of your current pet(s) is important. If you know that your current pet does not like other animals (or specific species), bringing a new pet into your household may be more difficult. However, you may still be able to train your pets to get along. We provide steps to gradually introducing your new and current pets to each other on this page. In addition, to define the type of cat you're looking for, check out our 'identifying your expectations' page.
Cost of pet ownership: There are many costs associated with pet ownership. To learn more about these costs and to make an approximate budget for yourself, please go to our cost page.
Beaver, B. (2003). Feline behavior: a guide for veterinarians. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Company.