Taking it slow with your new pet

People tend to get very excited when they decide to adopt a new pet; they have researched what species and breeds will best fit with their lifestyle, and are ready and prepared to make that 15+/- year commitment. They have a vet clinic lined up and pet insurance ready to go... and now it's time to bring home the new addition.

While home-raised kittens usually mesh into family life with ease, less-socialized kittens (think barn and feral kittens) will take more patience and time. If you adopt a grown cat, only the most confident will stroll into your home and act like he owns the place. It is extremely common for a new cat to hide for up to a week while he adjusts to the new sights, smells, noises and routine.

We recommend to all adopters to make a special room for your new cat or kitten to keep him contained for at least a week before letting him free-roam in the house (especially important if you have other animals!). This way he will have no trouble finding his food, water, and litterbox, and he will have a slow, calm introduction by smell to your home and everyone in it. He will have the time to learn the sights and sounds while in his safe place so he doesn't get startled and bolt.

If you have chosen to bring home a canine friend, we always recommend the 3-3-3 rule. Three days: it takes an average of three days for a dog to decompress; there may be fearful barking, potty accidents, stress-diarrhea, and he may not even want to eat at first. Three weeks: your new pup will definitely be testing his boundaries by acting out; he is starting to learn your home's routine and that this just might be his home too. Three months: your new dog is finally feeling safe and comfortable. A solid bond will be created by now, and he is feeling loved and secure.

Thank you to everyone who adopts pets needing a second chance. If you find yourself unsure of certain behaviors your new pet is exhibiting, please reach out to your local shelter for advice; there are tons of helpful resources available.

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