Dogs and cats. They’re two of the most common household pets, and for many people, they can be total polar opposites. Dogs are boisterous and love to play fetch, while cats tend to be more reserved and would rather lay in a sunny spot. If you’re thinking about getting a dog but you also have a cat, it’s important to know how to introduce them properly so that everyone can live harmoniously together. Here are a few tips on how to make introducing a dog to your cat go as smoothly as possible:
Don’t Rush Things
Forget about those Instagram videos where pets become best friends at first sight! It is better to be cautious at the beginning and take things slowly one step at a time than ruin your chance for proper socialization of your cat and dog.
During the first several days when you bring a puppy home, the pets should stay in separate rooms. Ensure the cat has access to the needed supplies, such as food, water, a scratching post, a litter box, and plenty of space.
First Vet, Then Introduction
Start with short sessions after the first vet appointment passes, and your dog is clear of illnesses. Moreover, going to the vet will give you a short insight into how your new puppy reacts to other animals. Watch the reaction to other pets in the waiting room so you know what you can expect. Some dogs are afraid of other animals, others get too excited and curious.
Try Some Positive Associations
Even though you haven’t formally introduced a cat to your dog, the two animals can sense the presence of each other. You can do a trick that will help them tolerate the smell of the other animal by associating it with something positive, such as food.
Place the food bowls for your cat and dog on opposite sides of the door. Let the pets eat and see if they are disturbed by the scent of the other.
If a cat and dog can eat without issues while the other animal is behind closed doors, they are ready to meet. Sometimes, the animals may need time to get used to each other’s scents.
During the first several contacts between your cat and dog, you need to be there as well. Never leave the room when the pets are together if you want to react on time if things go bad! Keep the dog on the leash and prepare delicious treats to praise him for good behavior. Let the cat come closer to the dog and have a toy ready.
If things threaten to escalate, you can throw a toy for the cat to distract and give a treat to a dog. End the session and try again tomorrow.
Be Persistent and Patient
First contact is essential for good coexistence. Let the animals get closer at their own pace. For example, if a cat wants to leave the room after seeing a dog, let the cat escape, and try again tomorrow.
Eventually, a cat will give in and come closer to your puppy. For some animals, it can take time, so you need to be patient and consistent.
Repeat the Process If Anything Goes Wrong
If it seems that a cat and dog are getting along, you need to remain cautious for longer. Sometimes, the situation may quickly go out of control, and the aggression can spike. If that happens, you need to start over.
Don’t Lose Hope
Parallel with socialization with your cat, you will probably engage in a training session with your dog. As you teach a puppy basic commands and he gets more obedient, hanging out with a cat will also go smoother.
It takes time and effort, but your cat and dog will eventually tolerate each other if not become best friends!
Although there are certainly some things to keep in mind when introducing a dog to your cat, it is ultimately an exciting process for both the pet parents and their new furry friends. By following these tips and being patient, you can help ensure that your dog and cat will live harmoniously together – with plenty of cuddles and playtime to go around. Are you getting ready to introduce a new dog into your home? What about a new kitty?
Let us know how it goes in the comments below!