Are you looking for a dog to adopt? Congratulations! Unfortunately, if you have a cat, she probably won’t be as excited as we are. First impressions are an extremely big deal to pets. Introductions between a dog and cat must be handled properly. Below, a veterinarian talks about how Fido and Fluffy can begin a cohesive relationship.
Before bringing a dog into your home, put your kitty in a quiet back room with all of the purrrfect essentials, such as toys and catnip. After Fido has sniffed the territory, let Fluffy out, and put your pooch in the quiet room. It’s now your cat’s turn to get accustomed to the new scent. Switch the two back and forth. Pay a lot of attention to your feline friend, so she doesn’t feel isolated or ignored.
It’ll take a few days of swapping places for your pets to accept that they have to share their territory. When they do, you can let them meet officially. However, don’t allow them to have full access to each other just yet. Use a barrier, like a carrier or a puppy gate, to let them see and sniff each other. Give both pets praise and treats to help sweeten the deal. If all goes the right way, cautiously allow them to be together. If it doesn’t work, start over. Carefully monitor all interactions, never leaving Fido and Fluffy unsupervised until you’re certain they’re getting along.
Be sure that Fluffy has a place to go in every room. That way, if she is scared or feels threatened, she always has an escape. This should be a spot Fido can’t get to. Vertical spaces, like cat towers, are great for this. (Your feline friend will also have a scratching post and napping spot from this deal.) Also, use spaces behind or beneath sofas, beds, and chairs.
In most cases, cats and dogs learn to cohabitate, and are fine. Fluffy and Fido might become best friends forever. Or, they might just ignore each other. But, there will be moments when dogs and cats fight like, well, dogs and cats. This can be dangerous. Consult with a veterinarian or professional pet trainer if your pets don’t start getting along. Otherwise, one of your pets–most likely Fluffy–could be seriously hurt.
Do you have questions about your dog and cat? Call your local vet for answers!