The challenges of bringing home a new pet

As much as I love my furry family, bringing home a new pet is a challenge. Everyone in the family, from human to animal, has to get through the difficult transition period that usually comes with the potential for loss of sleep, destruction of property, and, let’s face it, a little bit of lost sanity- at least temporarily. (Hey, I wasn’t really all that sane to start with!) Bringing home a new pet is stressful though it pays off in the end!

Gaining a new family member- the 14th most stressful life event

The Holmes and Rahe stress scale identifies 43 stressful life events. Some of the stressful life events are also happy life events, but stressful nevertheless! Gaining a new family member ranks 14 on the list of the most stressful life events.

Maybe you remember I recently adopted a new kitty, Max, from Larimer Humane Society. Let me tell you- Max is great! He’s curious, friendly, and easy going. Just look at him!

Max's first night 2

Max is doing just fine but everyone else in the household is still adjusting to the new family member. While the family dynamic improves every day it’s still a challenge to keep the pets separated when we’re not home and manage pet-to-pet interactions when we are home.

We followed many of the suggested guidelines for new pet introductions, including keeping the furkids completely separated for the first few days and doing slow introductions. It’s been going reasonably well, though our routines and habits have been interrupted in the process.

For example, we temporarily moved one of the litter boxes to our bedroom so we can keep Max with us in the bedroom at night. I’m almost getting used to being woken by the smell of a particularly pungent cat poo. Okay, that’s not true, I’m not getting used to it at all! It’s better than an alarm clock. If only we could get Max to make a stink at exactly 6:00am every morning. There’s no snooze for your nose, folks!

It’s all worth it in the end

I’ve been through the challenges of bringing home a new pet quite a few times throughout my life and it never really gets easier. After the challenge of the initial transition period I’m as happy as ever to share my life with my new furry friend!

I remember when we adopted Malcolm from Longmont Humane Society last year. After a successful initial meeting between Malcolm and Maggie we brought Malcolm home! But once Malcolm was in our home suddenly he and Maggie weren’t getting along so well.

For a few weeks I was worried it might not work out at all but as Malcolm gained confidence his interaction with Maggie improved- now they’re great friends! It was worth sticking through the first few difficult weeks to share my life with this adorable and sweet pup!

And just look at how well they get along today:

Maggie & Malcolm snuggles

Getting started with a new pet

If you’ve recently brought home a new pet, please stick with them and give everyone in your family the chance to adjust. Know that there will be challenges, but it will be worth it in the end!

I have some wonderful resources to share for the next time you bring a new pet into your home. Check out these great resources from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary:

For Cats

Welcome Home: Preventing Problems From Day One (For Cats)

Introducing a New Cat to Resident Cats

Introducing a Cat and Dog(s)

For Dogs

Welcome Home: Preventing Problems From Day One (For Dogs)

Introducing a New Dog to Resident Dogs

Introducing a Dog and Cat(s)

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