Introducing Your Cat to a New Dog
Contrary to what cartoons might have you believe, cats and dogs can become friends. However, introducing a new pooch to an adult feline is much more difficult than introducing a new kitten to your pup. In order to ensure a peaceful household, you must make sure that you introduce your pets carefully.
Choose a room for your new pup when you first bring him home. Make sure he has everything he needs so he doesn’t have to leave the room for the first few days. Not only will this allow you to monitor your dog’s potty behavior, but it also gives your cat a chance to sniff and inspect the newcomer through the cracks in the door. This is also a great time to schedule a checkup with your veterinarian.
After a few days, allow your cat to enter the dog’s room while your pup is outside. Animals can learn a lot about each other by scent alone, so allowing your kitty to inspect your pooch’s room is a great way for him to get acquainted with the newcomer.
For the first face-to-face interaction, place your dog inside a crate with the door closed, or place a child gate in the doorway of his room. This gives your cat the chance to visually inspect your fluffy new friend without the fear of being attacked.
If all goes well, place your dog on a leash and allow him to directly interact with your cat. Although most canines will want to sniff and play with a kitty, some hunting breeds may have a chasing instinct, which can be very scary for your feline friend. By starting on a leash, you are able to control your pet’s movements during the first serious introduction.
Eventually, you will be able to remove your dog from the leash and leave your animals alone together without constant supervision. If you want to encourage this behavior, start feeding your pets side-by-side and provide them with treats when they hang out together.
No matter how friendly your furry friends are, cats still need a way to escape the attention of a dog. Make sure your feline has plenty of acceptable vertical spaces to rest and consider providing your kitty with a private room where other pets aren’t allowed. If you’re having trouble with the introduction, call your veterinarian for more advice.
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