A new adoption, what to expect in the first month.

Did you know that first month is the hardest for any newly adopted animal?

Some things you can possibly expect to deal with the first month:

  • Separation anxiety: It is very common especially more so with dogs/puppies but can happen in cats.
  • House training/litter box issues: Dogs/puppies have to relearn a new routine which can be different than what they are used to. It can also take awhile for the new owner to tell the telltale signs of them having to pee. For cats, some like certain litter or litter box styles, and placement is equally important. It is actually a good idea to see if you can take some used litter from the foster home to place into the new litter box. Cats are all about the smell so by placing the litter in the new litter box the cat will know that that is the place they should go in.
  • Aggression/fear of resident pets: Proper introductions is very important not just for dogs but for cats too. Just because your cat or dog had a previous friend it doesn’t mean this new pet will become their instant best friend. Like people, not everyone gets along or sometimes it takes quite awhile to adjust. This is why proper slow introductions are important for cats, it can take months for cats to become friends or at least put up with each other so expect to take at least a week possibly more for a cat/kitten to be in a sanctuary room.
  • Runners: The first week has the highest chance of pets escaping, dogs especially that is why some suggest not taking them for a walk until after the first week or have two leashes on the dog a harness and a leash just in case the dog slips one you will still have the second.
  • Shyness: Let’s face it, it’s scary to go to any new place but when you add in other pets, different people, and a busy household it can be very overwhelming. So expect at least two weeks to be best able to assess their personality.
  • Retraining: Even if a dog or cat is said to be perfect everyone’s idea of perfect can be different. Some people are ok with a dog on the couch while others not so much likewise with a cat on the table. So expect to have to train the new animal to have to learn the new house rules.
  • Unsure/scared/aggressive to the kids: Even if a foster home has kids, like resident pets, everyone is different. Some kids can be cat/dog savvy and know body language really well and know not to push an animal too far or be quieter in the home while others not so much. So especially for the first week, you want your kids to only be around the new pet under supervision as well make an effort to teach them how to be gentle and to understand warning cues. 

It’s also very important to set up your new puppy or kitten for success. So don’t let them get away with something you won’t find as cute when they are much older. Even kittens can be trained, some people thinks cats can’t be but they know that they can easily train us to please them, that’s how smart they are.

It will take at least a month for any new animal to settle into a household sometimes even more. Set them up for success by researching as much as possible beforehand in regards to training, and be honest with what exactly you are looking for, what you can handle medically/behaviorally, and if your resident pet(s) even want a new friend. Don’t get a pet just because it’s cute as it is a 10-20 year commitment that requires a lot of work and training to ensure they become a great part of the family. If you aren’t sure of any allergies in the family, bring the entire family to a friend’s or family members place to spend quite a bit of time with their dogs/cats to assess any allergies before adopting. Getting a new family member can be the best thing you ever do but it’s best to not have expectations that just aren’t fair for any new animal to live up to so quickly.