Bringing a new cat into the household raises the question of how to introduce a cat to a dog or a cat to another cat.
I’m not going to lie to you. Introducing a cat to a dog or another cat takes time and, more importantly, a lot of patience and commitment on your part.
So, today I’m going to offer you some tips to ensure peace and quiet in your home.
How to introduce a cat to a dog?
A few days back I read a heartbreaking story on Facebook. A woman was grieving because her new cat died.
No, the cat wasn’t ill or hit by a car.
The dog killed it, which, as many other people pointed out was utterly avoidable.
That’s what could happen if you don’t introduce your cat to your dog in the correct way.
So, don’t take it lightly when you bring a cat into the house, even if your dog has lived with felines before.
#1 Get the cat settled in
Before you begin introducing Rover to Kitty, allow Kitty enough time to settle into your house.
Kitty is already stressed enough by the sudden change in her environment, so it’s a horrible idea to bring Rover into the picture.
- Keep Kitty confined in one room with everything she needs—a litter box, food, and water bowls. Your bedroom is an excellent choice, or another place where Rover doesn’t have access.
- Wait until Kitty gets used to the new situation and warms up to you. If she hides under the bed or the furniture, let her be.
- Once she seems comfortable and relaxed, you can start the introductions.
Also, when you bring the cat into the house, the dog should be either locked in or away from home.
Otherwise, it’s very likely that Rover will be barking at the cat carrier, and that will freak out Kitty.
#2 Introduce the scent
You can do this step in stages.
- Start by petting the dog for a few minutes.
- Then go to the cat’s room and let her sniff your hand.
- Then pet Kitty for a while, return to Rover and let him smell your hand.
The point of this exercise is to get the two animals comfortable with the scent of each other.
You should keep doing it for a while until neither animal gets excited or scared by the smell. Then you can continue to the next step.
- Take Rover to the door of the bedroom and let him and Kitty sniff each other through the solid wood.
- If Rover starts scratching at the door, barking, or whining, you must remove him immediately.
- Try again later when Rover is calm.
To encourage bonding, you can start feeding the animals on opposite sides of the same door.
In this way, they will associate the unfamiliar scent with something positive—food. Continue to do so until both animals don’t seem to mind the scent of the other.
#3 Face-to-face controlled meetings
You can proceed to the face-to-face interactions in several ways:
- Keep the dog in the crate and allow the cat to roam around
- Keep the cat in the crate and let the dog interact with it
- Place a barrier, for example, a tailgate and allow both animals to look at one another.
Let the cat/dog explore the other animal and step in immediately if you notice signs of aggression like barking or hissing.
Allow enough time to either animal to get comfortable.
It might take up to a few weeks, but under no circumstances force the animals to interact if they seem reluctant or uncomfortable.
It’s also a good idea to have a high place where the cat can escape if it feels threatened.
#4 Off-leash meetings
Next, when both animals don’t react strongly, you can keep the dog on a leash and let the cat loose in the room.
Observe Rover and if you see that he gets too excited, remove him from the room. The same goes for Kitty.
You might also start teaching Rover to ignore the presence of the cat.
Do so by providing treats when he focuses too much on the cat. In this way, Rover will learn that not bothering the cat results in tasty food.
#5 Observe how they interact
If things are progressing well, meaning your dog behaves calmly around the cat and the cat doesn’t seem bothered by the dog, you can forget about the leash and let both animals loose in the room.
Do not leave them alone, but continue to monitor their behavior. Keep the first few sessions short and slowly increase the time.
In time, you’ll probably start to notice that Kitty and Rover are cuddling together or playing.
That’s a very good sign and shows that the bonding is going well.
However, when you’re not at home, do not allow the dog to have access to the cat. That’s imperative for breeds with high prey drives, like the Greyhound.
Introducing a cat to a dog requires patience, supervision, and gradual acclimation.
It’s important to create a positive and controlled environment, allowing the animals to interact at their own pace.
Begin with scent exchanges and visual introductions, followed by supervised interactions with physical barriers in place.
Slowly progress to supervised face-to-face interactions, rewarding positive behavior and providing plenty of treats and praise.
With time, consistency, and positive reinforcement, a cat and dog can learn to coexist harmoniously, forming a bond that can bring joy and companionship to your household.
Olfa knows how to get things done and has a keen business sense that others admire. She’s always on the go, coming up with new ideas! Her ability to anticipate the needs of her readers and deliver information that they want is what makes CatVills such a success. She loves cuddling her cat Picaciu. He is her inspiration.