5 tips for keeping multiple pets at home
If having a cat or a dog is already a lot of doubts for a person, having several pets at home can be a challenge. Many factors must be taken into account, such as that there are potentially incompatible species, usually those that in nature have a predator-prey relationship.
In this article we offer you 5 tips to have several pets at home and to avoid many of the problems derived from this situation.
Have several pets at home… How many?
Faced with this question, we could think that “all we want”, but it is not. Although there is no general law on animal protection that addresses this issue, there are municipal ordinances that regulate the number of pets that a person can have at home. These ordinances usually consider dogs, cats and birds as pets and, in most cases, you cannot have more than five.
Therefore, our first advice is that you do not have more pets than those allowed by the municipality where you live, to avoid problems with neighbors and the authorities.
Try to choose compatible species
Theoretically, certain species will not be compatible with others due to their status as prey animals. This is the case of birds and rodents, which could live under states of chronic stress. However, there is evidence that these animals can live in harmony with their “predators”, especially if they have been raised together since childhood.
Many people think that cats and dogs cannot get along and, in fact, the opposite is true. It is easier for a cat and a dog to live happily together than for two cats. This is because its territorial meaning is different. Dogs live in family groups and often accept new members. On the contrary, cats form matrilineal colonies and do not allow the incorporation of other cats, especially if the cat that already lives in the home is female.
Make a correct presentation
It is very important to make a correct presentation according to the species that we want to coexist. The future coexistence will largely depend on how your relationship starts.
In dogs, it is desirable to choose a neutral, calm space with few stimuli. Dogs must know how to meet another dog; not all dogs know how to do it and it can be a problem. First, we must inform ourselves about the calm signals in dogs and make sure that our dog performs them correctly. Introducing two cats can take approximately a month. Therefore, we must ensure that we will be patient enough and that we have space in our home to carry out the presentation.
For a dog and a cat to live in the same house, it is only necessary to make sure that the dog does not want to eat it. It is interesting that the dog has a curious attitude towards feral cats ; here you will see that he does not look for them to hunt them, but to know what they are. The adaptation period after presentation between an adult dog and cat can be long, but they will eventually get along. Between puppies, they will most likely start playing almost immediately.
It is not recommended that cats and birds coexist, due to the predatory instinct of the former. Furthermore, we cannot condemn birds to live in cages; they need to get out of them daily and relate to their environment. Despite this, each individual, regardless of the species, has its own way of behaving: it is unique, so there will be cats that get along perfectly with birds, especially if they are of medium size, such as some parrots.
Environmental enrichment adapted to each species
The enrichment is fundamental to the psychological health of our pets. In many cases, this enrichment has the function of imitating the natural environment of the species or allowing the individual to carry out the behaviors that are inherent to their species.
For dogs, the most interesting enrichment is the olfactory one. Smell work will mentally exhaust our dogs, which will make them happy and much more receptive to living with the rest of the pets in the house.
Cats must be exercised. It is really interesting that they have places to hide when they do not want to interact with other members of the house. In addition, if they have tall furniture from which to observe the rest, they will feel much safer.
Birds – especially parrots – and rodents should have toys and chews in their cages. However, they need the option of being able to get out of it every day.
It is very important that each animal has its own enrichment. If one of our pets begins to develop abnormal behaviors, coexistence may not be healthy and the balance created at home is destroyed.
Having several pets at home is a high financial expense. Only the annual veterinary expenses of a healthy pet can exceed 200 euros. If, unfortunately, it becomes ill, these expenses will rise. In addition, birds and rodents must be cared for by veterinarians specialized in exotic fauna, which is an extra on the bill.
To keep our pets healthy, their food must also be of quality. Cheap feed and snacks tend to cause liver and kidney problems in all species, which will shorten their lives.
We must assess our financial situation very well before having pets, because their whole life depends on us.