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Tips for Caring for Multiple Pets of Different Species in Your Home

A multi-pet house! How to handle multiple animals of different species. First rule: awareness and responsibility!

Extraordinary as it may be, affection between specimens of different species is amply confirmed by stories of friendship between rabbits and cats living under the same roof.

We are caring for multiple pets. Increasingly common is the choice of many animal lovers to be accompanied in their lives by several animals, sometimes of different species: from the most common dog and cat to more unusual pairings such as a guinea pig and a dog, a pet rodent and a bird, a budgerigar and a cat or a bunny and a dog.

Cohabitation can be pleasant and beneficial for both species or subject to tensions and problems. In both cases, the owners need special care and awareness, leading to decisions and choices that have the well-being of both animals as their goal.

First considerations

At the outset, it should be borne in mind that such a choice entails redoubled responsibilities, sometimes even real challenges, since many factors must be considered.

First, some potentially incompatible species exist, such as those with a predator-prey relationship. With them, it will be easier to establish a serene and peaceful coexistence in which the two animals’ inclinations, habits and peculiarities are respected.

In this article, we offer some tips and suggestions that can help you live with several animals in the home and avoid all the problems arising from this situation.

Common sense

First, regardless of species, you should consider the number of pets you want to keep in your home. No specific laws limit the number of animals that can be kept in a home. Still, it is advisable to consider that all animals have the right to live in comfortable conditions, and an excessive number could compromise this.

The physical environment and resources, such as space and food, determine animal well-being. Still, it also translates into psychological well-being and the ability to express natural behaviour.

These fundamental and indispensable elements should not suffer from an overabundance of numbers since space, respect for attitudes, and attention should be necessary to maintain a good quality of life.

Keeping one or more small animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, gerbils and even birds in the same house as a cat is by no means impossible.

Of no less importance is respect for neighbours and general rules of good behaviour since cohabitation between several animals must also respect the rights of others. It is unthinkable, for example, to have several cats and dogs living together, meowing and barking at each other all day.

As always, the first rule is common sense: a reasoned and considered number of animals, with essential spaces and resources, and absolute respect for the needs of both pets and others.

Compatible species

As can be deduced from the above, another fundamental suggestion is to try to choose between compatible species so that living together is more positive and respectful of natural characteristics and easy to achieve. For example, putting a cat and a domestic rodent (albeit in its cage) under the same roof could be an unfavourable choice.

The prey-predator relationship, as well as the hunting nature of the feline, are fundamental factors affecting cohabitation between the two species. The cat might live with the natural desire and instinct to hunt the other housemate. On the other hand, the latter would live in a state of chronic stress.

The only possibility for serene cohabitation is for the two species to live in well-separated environments in which the presence of the other pet is unsuspected, out of sight and out of smell.

Spaces for incompatible species

Dedicating defined, limited and well-separated spaces to each type of animal could be the solution to accommodate different species, even those with distinct and opposite characteristics. Here again, the utmost attention and responsibility of the owners is called for.

Suppose one decides to allow two tendentially incompatible species into one’s home. In that case, one must endeavour to guarantee each one its own space, secure and inviolable, in such a way as to allow it to live in serenity and under its natural inclinations.

Allow them to live in serenity and under its natural inclinations.

Returning to the previous example, having the cage of the domestic rodent in a room where the cat (which is free to roam the rest of the house) is prevented from entering can guarantee the well-being and respect of the peculiarities of both types of animal: on the one hand, the rodent would live in safety and tranquillity, without being subjected to any stress, on the other hand the feline would not constantly live with the desire to hunt and the impossibility of doing so.

Likewise, one could dedicate one part of the house to one animal and the remainder to the other or leave the indoor environment to one pet and the garden or outdoor setting to another. Each of these choices should also be made based on the characteristics of the individual animal to dedicate the environment most friendly to it.

The balance between sharing and freedom

While the solution of having the two species of animals live completely isolated and unconscious of each other may be drastic or impracticable for some, another piece of advice is to give each pet its own space, designed and conceived for its specific needs.

Hence, they are no longer entirely separate rooms but, even if shared, have special accommodations, objects and arrangements for the different types of animals. So, carve out a specific place within the dwelling reserved for a kind of animal and another space in another room (or at least far enough away from the previous one to ensure respect for freedom) for the other pet.

In this way, cohabitation can find the right balance between sharing and freedom, and each animal can recognise a space that is uniquely its own, in which it can find tranquillity and independence.

Create a familiar ambience they are comfortable with

Creating an excellent, familiar environment where the two species can feel at ease and live together in harmony is essential. This solution is feasible if we talk about more compatible species which can live next to each other without too many problems, such as cats and dogs. Many people think the two species cannot get along, but the opposite is often true, mainly if they have grown up together since childhood.

It is easier for a dog or a cat to coexist peacefully than for two cats because their sense of territory is different: dogs live in family groups and generally tend to accept new members, whereas, on the contrary, cats form matrilineal colonies and do not allow the addition of other cats. The suggestion is that the dog and cat each have their own reserved and dedicated place, so shared moments and places can alternate with others of freedom and autonomy.

For example, water and food bowls could be set up in two different places, as well as favourite kennels and toys, thus guaranteeing boundaries and freedoms, which can be modified according to the specific needs of the pet couple.

These are general indications, but you can be faced with two animals of different species that like to share everything, do not need their own space of autonomy and live together in harmony. All this must be assessed, as always when dealing with animals, based on individual characters and temperaments: there is no one-size-fits-all.

Adaptation period

Also to be considered is the adaptation period involved in introducing a new pet into the home if another pet of a different species already lives there. In the case of puppies, it tends to take only a short time to get used to each other, especially when compared with the time needed for two animals, one of which is an adult or both of which are adults, to live peacefully under the same roof.

The methods and strategies for introducing and bringing the two pets together are crucial to the venture’s success. These must also be thought out and prepared according to the types of pets involved. We repeat: what matters most is the well-being of both and respect for natural predispositions, which must not be restricted in any way.

Thank you for reading the article to the end. Your reading contribution was significant to us.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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