Are you considering adopting a dog? That’s probably one of the best decisions you could make! If you own a cat, she most likely won’t be as thrilled about it as we are. Pets’ first impressions are a pretty big deal, so introductions need to be handled properly. In this article, a veterinarian explains how to get your doggy and kitty getting along right from the beginning.
Before bringing your pooch inside, put Fluffy in a quiet back room with kitty essentials, such as toys and cat furniture. Your canine companion can then sniff the territory. Once he’s done this, let Fluffy out and put Fido in the quiet room. Now, your kitty will sniff the new scent. Switch them back and forth. Give your cat a lot of attention to avoid feelings of being ignored or isolated.
Swapping places will take a few days until your pets accept the idea that they have to share the territory. Once this happens, you can have an official meeting. Use a pet carrier or puppy gate so they can see and sniff each other through a barrier. Give both pets treats and praise to help make life a little sweeter. If all goes well, go on to the next step. If the meeting doesn’t go well, start over. Carefully watch all interactions, and don’t start leaving Fido and Fluffy alone unsupervised until you’re certain they can get along.
Be sure that Fluffy has a place to go in every room. That way, if she is scared or threatened, she can always escape to her safe place. Fido shouldn’t be able to reach this area. Vertical spaces, like cat towers, are excellent for this. Cat towers are also great for your kitty to use as scratching posts and napping spots. Also, make her some hiding spots behind or beneath sofas, chairs, and beds.
In most cases, cats and dogs can learn to cohabitate and do fine with the arrangements. They might become best friends. Or, they might ignore each other. However, there are times when Fluffy and Fido will fight, which can be a very dangerous situation. If your pets don’t start warming up to each other, talk to your vet or professional trainer. If you don’t, one of your pets, probably your kitty, could get seriously injured.
If you have questions about how to introduce a dog to a resident cat, consult with your local veterinarian.