Many owners have asked me to question their pets about adding another animal to the family. “Would they like to have a little dog to play with?” or “How do they feel about the new little kitty we just adopted?” or “Are they okay with sharing their bed with the new dog?” Some owners have me ask their pets before they add another dog or cat to the family. Some have already added another pet and now want to know if their first pet is okay with this. Either way, owners want to know if having another pet in their households is a good thing or a huge mistake. While there are pets that are very accepting of a new addition to the family and can actually be very happy to have a new friend to play with, I’m going to concentrate and talk about the pets I’ve talked to who are not happy and actually are very angry about having to share their space and their humans with another animal. Our pets do get angry, and nothing makes them madder than a fuzzy little ball of fur who cries a lot and won’t leave them alone or a new cat who is now sleeping in their bed and eating their food. For some pets, this is an affront to their safe, secure place in the household.
When I talk to animals about having another pet in the family, I don’t beat around the bush or try to sugar coat anything. The addition of a new furry critter to the family is huge in a pet’s world. I’ve included some of the conversations I’ve had with pets in the next few paragraphs… read on.
“Your mama wants to know how you would feel about having a little puppy to play with?” I posed this question to a wonderful Golden Retriever whose humans thought he was lonesome and needed a cute little puppy to keep him company. “Bruno” told me in no uncertain terms that he was not happy with this arrangement and would definitely not welcome a cute little puppy into his world. Unlike most humans, animals always say what’s on their minds. And they say it in such a way that you have no doubt as to what they mean.
When I was asked to talk to “Jasper” about the newest member of the family, this is what he had to say, “Tell mama I don’t like that new dog, I don’t know why this dog is here and I am not going to play with him! He’s eating my food and playing with my toys. I want to be the only dog here I want mama to be mine.” This kind of reply is fairly common for dogs. They talk about basic things like having to share food, toys, beds and their humans. Dogs are not petty when it comes to being critical of a new pet. To them, their basic needs are what they’re concerned about.
On the other hand, our precious kitties are not so kind when they express their anger over a new pet in the family. In fact, they can be downright insulting! I was somewhat taken aback when I was asked to talk to “Rosie.” She was a very sweet, affectionate kitty who was the recipient of a new little kitten as a “playmate.” Her mama thought she would really like a little kitty to cuddle with and take care of. Boy was her mama wrong! “I don’t like that new kitty. She has ugly fur and her tail is too long and she looks funny. I told her she was ugly and to leave me alone.” Of course, all of this is said with no regard as to how all of these insults might affect the new kitten. And if I were to mention how these words and feelings will cause the new kitten to feel bad, this is what I might hear, “I don’t care. Mama has to get that thing to leave. She never asked me if I wanted a new kitty.”
Rosie and Jasper were expressing their anger over having had their worlds upset by a new addition to their families. They don’t like this new pet and don’t want it around. As I said earlier, some animals are just fine with having another cat, another dog, another rabbit, etc., coming to live with them. In fact, there are some pets that are welcoming and happy about having a friend to play with.
But it’s important to remember that when we’re thinking about making an addition to our pet families, we should stop and think about how this would affect the pets we already have. This does not mean we should forego getting another pet. It just means that we need to understand that anytime we introduce a new pet to the family, we are changing the dynamics, the harmony and the physical and emotional natures of our households. We need to ask ourselves whether or not we are equipped with the time, energy and patience necessary to deal with these changes in order to better help our pets welcome this new addition into their world.
Getting “Jack” a new puppy to play with and to keep him company when you’re away from home might seem like a great idea to you, but Jack might feel differently about it. In fact, he may not like it at all.