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Introducing a new pet
to other pets
We are often asked if certain animals will get along with other animals.
Many animals prefer to live alone and lead a solitary existence. They do not crave the companionship of other living creatures. They are not sociable animals. Other than the time they need to spend with other animals for mating purposes they do not enjoy the companionship of other animals. Often they will get along with each other for a short time if they are forced to live together but even then fighting is usually inevitable. It is just a matter of when and if you are not available to intervene fights can be deadly.
Although some animals can not be trusted to live with members of their own species, many can learn and be conditioned to interact with their caregivers. Some even seem to look forward to sharing play time and feeding or treat time etc. BUT! …most pets that have naturally evolved to spend life alone do not seem to care about companionship.
Some species require constant companionship from members of their own species and they need it to thrive happily. While you may be available periodically throughout the day to offer it companionship the companionship that you offer it does not replace the type of constant interaction and companionship it receives from another member of it’s own species. These species typically form strong bonds with their owners and look forward to the time they spend together. When they are housed in pairs or in a group they will often include you as part of their herd.
Other non-predatory species
Having another docile non-predatory pet friend housed separately in the same room certainly adds something in the way of friendship. This method is used by some people and it can be to help animals feel more secure (like a teddy bear to a child). However, it does not replace the need to share its life with a member of it own species.
Other predatory versus prey species
If they are introduced together under safe conditions, animals will usually adjust to living in a home that has other pets in it. They may never learn to completely trust and love one another. Some can learn to respect boundaries but this is not wise as instincts are instincts and prey animals are designed to hunt.
If you already have a dog or a cat at home and are thinking of adding a new pet to your family, it is important that you introduce them to each other, slowly. You’ll need to establish rules and set boundaries. When you introduce them ALWAYS do so, in a safe and controlled environment. Have a friend with you just in case you need to react and intervene.
Never leave a predatory animal alone with a prey animal because they have evolved to hunt and if instincts kick in there is little that the prey animal can do to protect itself.
All our baby animals are housed in escape proof, secure, open air, wire cages. They are all exposed to our other pets long before they are weaned. They usually do not seem to care if another species of animal is in the room but we certainly would never trust leaving them loose together, unsupervised.
NEVER leave pets together, unattended!