Can cats of different ages get along
The socialization of cats and small animals
If we are talking about a "socialization" of cat and small animal, the expectation should be different than when two cats get used to each other. We want to create acceptance and want to convey to the cat that the smaller animal is not a potential prey. But safety comes first, so the small animal is always in the cage or within reach of humans. A harness for the cat can help, but it is also no guarantee that injuries will not occur.
Ideally, the socialization of cats and small animals works like this:
As with the socialization of two cats, you first familiarize the two young animals with each other through smells. You can rub both animals with smaller blankets or washcloths and then transfer them to the area of activity of the other animal. The cloth you used to rub your small animal can find a place on the cat's resting pillow, for example - and vice versa. In this way, the animals can slowly get used to each other's smell. For your small animal, the wild predator odor of the cat is probably a shock at first, so please do not force contact with the object in question!
You can then bring the animals into contact with one another across the cage. How does your cat behave when it gets near the small animal cage? Is she about to jump or does she try to reach the potential prey through the cage bars with her paw? Or does she sit calmly and watch the other animal calmly?
Any aggression or signs that the predatory cat's hunting instinct is gaining the upper hand should be a sign that direct contact between the two animals is to be put on the back burner. Of course, you can still integrate both animals into your family! However, you should try to avoid your house tiger coming into contact with the small animal. Leave the pet in the cage when your cat is around and close the pet room door when you are away.
Or maybe everything went well, your cat is watching the smaller animal calmly and does not show any hunting behavior? Then it comes to the actual contact. Please use your common sense here and be extremely careful to avoid incidents and injuries! After all, you establish contact with animals that would be hunters and prey in the wild.
As already mentioned, the cat is the potentially more aggressive participant. The smaller, possibly weaker animal should therefore always have a place to retreat. Don't hold onto it and give it a chance to escape at any time.
For example, leaving your guinea pig in the open cage while your cat is free to roam is a very poor alternative. Your house tiger can corner the weaker small animal very quickly, and in an emergency it has no escape route. This creates stress in the small animal and promotes your cat's hunting instinct.
For example, a better option would be to hold your cat while the small animal can move freely around the room. If necessary, it also helps to bring in a second person for reinforcement. If your cat is used to a harness, you can also use this for the first contact. So you can always intervene if the hunting instinct gets out of hand! Give your animals time, behave calmly and intervene quickly in an emergency. Observe what is happening closely: How does the cat behave, what does its body language reveal? If her pupils become dilated and she begins to lurk or to jump, the enterprise should be stopped immediately. Perhaps she approaches the smaller animal cautiously and sniffs it slowly? Also keep an eye on the weaker animal. Is it scared, is it crouching, or is it trying to escape? Do not cause him further stress, but allow him to withdraw. Or maybe you are curious about the cat?
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