Everyone knows that cats and dogs aren’t meant to get along, however this isn’t true – with careful introductions a cat and a dog can share a home together peacefully and respectfully, without any drama or fighting.
Whether you are welcoming a new cat to your resident dog or vice versa, take it slow and follow this guide to ensure a successful and stress-free introduction.
Remember that taking that extra time to introduce them properly is not only safer but will also make a world of difference in the long run.
They make great pets, have big personalities and will be a wonderful addition into your home.
It’s no surprise that you are thinking about having a dog and a cat in your home, after all they are two of the most popular pets.
Preparing for the Introduction
When welcoming a new cat into your family, it is important to give them a few days away from other pets so they can settle into the new environment.
If you have a spare room that your dog can be kept out of, this is an ideal place.
The room should have everything the cat needs including food, water, a litter tray, a hiding place and scratching posts.
As many dogs are very enthusiastic about welcoming their owners home, it’s important to make sure your dog is not around when you bring your cat into the house as this does not make a good first meeting.
Instead, you will want to bring the cat into the house and into the spare room calmly and quietly.
Keeping the pets separate is important for these first couple of days but they should be aware of each other.
The best way to do this is through scent swapping.
Smell is a very important form of communication for both cats and dogs, this can be used to your advantage when introducing them.
While they are being kept separate, you can exchange bedding between the pets so they can get to know each other’s smell and become familiar with the scent.
Another thing you can do is socialize with the dog before going to see the cat and vice versa so that both smells will be mixed and they can get used to this.
After a couple of days, you may decide to let your cat explore the house while your dog is out too.
Their First Meet
Once your new cat is settled, and both pets have been familiarized with each other’s scent you can now let them meet.
If it is possible, take your dog for a long walk or fetch session before the introduction so they will be calmer.
To stop your dog from chasing the cat, put them on a lead and have lots of tasty treats on hand so you can have control over the situation.
Sit with your dog on the other side of the room and let the cat decide whether or not to approach.
Your dog will probably be very interested but it is important to not let them stare at the cat for too long or get over excited and bark.
Continue to praise your dog and offer them treats for good behaviour.
If you are concerned about your dog chasing the cat, you can always do the initial introductions using a crate.
Keep these first few interactions short and sweet, before long the pair will be used to each other and your dog will have learnt how to behave around the cat.
When you are confident that your dog and cat are used to each other you can slowly let them interact more freely.
The most important thing is that your dog knows that they should not chase the cat.
Oh, and one more thing, your dog will likely be very tempted to eat the cat’s food so it’s best to keep the cat’s food (and litter trays) in a place the dog cannot access.