If your home already has a dog or two, and you’re ready to bring in a new cat this June, it’s important to consider their first meeting. If you let a loose cat and off-leash dog meet each other in an open room without guidance, you’re setting your pets up to fail. Instead, when you plan ahead, you can ensure that your beloved dog and adorable new cat hit it off and learn to live harmoniously together. Follow these smart tips for introducing cats to dogs.
Consider Pet Personalities Before Adoption
Before deciding on your newest adoptee, you must consider how this new pet will match your current pet(s). It is also helpful to look for a new kitty that has been exposed to dogs in the past. Remember these factors when considering matching your pets:
- If your dog frequently attempts to chase, pin, or handle any cat, it’s probably best to postpone adoption. The same goes for a dog who growls or obsessively barks at any cat they see – they may need more training and exposure to cats before bringing a new kitten into your home.
- If your dog enjoys chasing things, you will want a calm, confident cat who won’t encourage the dog and run away in play or fear.
- Avoid kittens or elderly cats who can be easily hurt if your dog plays a little rough.
- If your dog is older, laidback, or anxious, avoid adopting a rambunctious cat that may annoy or frighten your senior pet.
Introducing Cats to Dogs In Your Home
Follow these tips when arranging the first introduction between your dog and your new adopted cat.
Prepare Your Dog
To prepare your dog, you can ask the shelter’s adoption counselors whether they have any dog-savvy confident cats that can meet your dog under controlled conditions.
If that is not possible, you may have your dog meet a “dog-savvy” cat of a friend. This can allow your dog to get used to socializing with a cat.
Separate the Pets
- Keep the animals separate when the new cat arrives. Across a few days, you can rotate which animal has the freedom to roam and which is confined to allow each pet time to investigate the other’s scent.
- If the dog digs at the separation barrier or barks at the cat for more than two days, the interaction probably will not work without guidance or training – you may need to get the help of a pro.
- When the pets are left alone at home, they should be separated and the dog or cat must always be securely confined, so unsupervised interactions do not occur.
- Once the dog is calm or less fixated on the cat and the cat is relaxed and settled in, you can proceed to the next step.
- Let both animals be in the same room at once, but keep your dog securely leashed
- Continue with this introduction until the dog is calm and ignores the cat, and the cat is calm and eating and using its litter box normally
- If you see any fear or aggression in either animal, continue to keep them separate
- Continue leashed introductions until both the dog and cat seem happy and relaxed near each other
- You should continue to securely confine both pets to separate areas when they are left at home alone
Allow Unsupervised Interactions
Finally, unsupervised time together can happen after the cat and dog have been supervised for about a month. You must be positive they will not hurt each other before letting them be unsupervised.
By carefully following these tips for introducing new cats to dogs, you can hopefully set up your pets for success and happiness in your family.
Here at Mount Carmel Animal Hospital, We’ll Treat Your Pets Like Family!
Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has been serving the Northern Baltimore/Southern York community for over 30 years and is proud to be an independently operated, small animal practice committed to excellence in veterinary medicine and client service. From grooming to wellness services, along with Canine Life Skills Training Courses, and surgical procedures, we have the expertise that will best serve the needs of you and your pet. Contact us at 410-343-0200 and follow us on Facebook!