How to Introduce Your Dog to a New Cat or Kitten
Who says that your dog and a new kitten or cat can’t live together in perfect harmony? Okay, so Tom and Jerry may not be your perfect candidates for animals getting along but millions of dogs and cats have learned to love each other and complete their families.
Introducing a dog to a cat takes time, so be patient. When choosing your new furry friend to introduce to your current furry friend, the first thing you should consider is their personalities. You might even consider looking for a companion that has been exposed to other animals in the past. This may speed up the introduction process as it is more likely that your new pet will react well to your current pet.
Assuming you’ve had your current pet for a while before thinking about getting a new one, you’re bound to know what personality traits they have acquired. Be mindful of what qualities your current cat or dog has in order to find their perfect match.
Do you have a dog that is generally aggressive towards other cats? If so, this should be all you need to know that they are probably not going to accept a new feline playmate. If you haven’t experienced them around felines just yet, hold off on the thought of getting one until you do. This will give you a good gage on how your dog will react when bringing in an extended family member.
If you have a dog that loves to chase around and has high energy, your perfect match will more than likely be a calmer cat. A cat that will run away or allow itself to become a ‘victim’ will become scared of your dog – we don’t want that! A non reactive and confident cat will best match up with this personality. Your dog will probably enjoy the challenge and become more respectful to a cat that stands their ground!
Is your dog a little rough and playful? It’s probably best to avoid kittens or older cats that will injure easily. Look for likewise playful cats that have a confidence in them that won’t allow a dog to push them around. Although with two wild child’s in the household, they’ll certainly keep you on your toes.
Lastly, if your dog is chilled out and a calm soul, you’ll want to find a calm counterpart to coincide. They’ll find comfort in each other’s presence and respect may come a little earlier.
But how to introduce a cat to a dog?
Knowing the best way to do this can be difficult and sometimes a little nerve racking! After all, we all love our pets equally and do our best to ensure they are in a safe and loving environment.
Your first move should be to find a location that is suitable to all involved. Avoid taking your current pet to the shelter where your new pet will be. This may cause stress and upset to other animals there and can be overwhelming for them all. It will cause stress to your pets from the get go.
Your home is more likely to be your most successful location.
- Separate your animals to begin with. Keep them apart and allow them to get used to each other’s presence. Allow them to smell around and become comfortable with the others scent. Animals love to sniff and gage their environment with their noses. Rotate which animal is confined and which one is free to roam around the house so that they can investigate. Securely confine them both if no one is home.
- Once they have had the chance to get used to each other being present in the house, allow for a leashed introduction. This means keeping them both on a lead and allowing them to be in the same room at the same time. If any fear or aggression is displayed, stay at the first step for a little longer. They won’t be done exploring each other just yet. Continue with this process for around a month until they both display comfort and generally ignore each other.
- When you feel ready, try supervised interactions with both animals being unleashed. This means stay in the room with the both of them while they are free to roam around without a leash on. If any displays of aggression or fear are shown, revert to the previous step. If they are comfortable, continue this process for another month.
- Once you are absolutely confident that your animals will not harm each other, you can leave them unsupervised and ready to become best friends!
If your dog remains overly focussed on your new cat or kitten or ignores your commands, this is a sign of a dangerous match. You may need to call in a professional or explore other options. It is important not to let either animal face a chance of any harm.
If either dog or cat lunges towards the other, displays aggression, growls or snaps then this is a no go. Do not put your animals in any danger or at risk.
If your cat is reacting badly, hissing or shows any behavioural changes such as unwillingness to eat or drink, the chances are that they are unhappy with the changes. It wouldn’t be fair to continue with your new pet so do consider your options going forward.
Allow yourself to do some relevant research before searching for the perfect match. Your current pet will love you for getting them a new friend but just remember – it takes time!
We’re all for adding more fur to your families and so if you need any advice then don’t hesitate to get in touch.
We’re most contactable on our Facebook page, (Petz Park). And we are more than happy to help.