Mia, Sophie, Prince Charming

Cat Tips

With a child's toothbrush, a finger brush or a special cat toothbrush, brush your feline's teeth with cat toothpaste on a regular basis. Start slowly and very gently, offering tasty treats to discourage squirming, before attempting to increase brushing times.

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Expert Q&A

I have two cats and a basset hound that get along great. I now have a new 14-week-old ragdoll kitten. How do I introduce this new kitten to my other pets?

Your pet family sounds wonderful. Congratulations on already doing such a good job at keeping the peace among your various members. Sometimes individual animals just click as friends, comparable to how we humans enjoy the company of some more than others. But we can help things along during the selection process and, as you point out, during the introductions. You've made a wise choice by adopting a ragdoll kitten. In terms of the breed, ragdolls tend to be affectionate, intelligent, relaxed in temperament, gentle and easy to handle. In terms of the age, it helps to introduce a kitten to an already established group of animals because the kitty has a greater chance of being accepted. Animals, especially cats, are very territorial. A kitten poses less of a threat. Even so, you'll still need to supervise initial encounters carefully. Hold your kitten in a room, then let your other pets enter, allowing them to sniff and investigate. Such supervised visits may need to take place over a period of hours or even weeks. If there's overt hostility, you might have to confine the kitten in the room or in a carrier for a short while, and allow the others to investigate through the protective barrier of the room door or the carrier grate. Be sure to give all of your animals affection during this time. Cats and dogs can otherwise become quite jealous. They will also require time to make social adjustments, since the new kitten will change everyone's life -- most likely for the better.

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