Introducing Cats and Dogs

Despite what we all see in cartoons, cats and dogs often get along with each other really well when they’ve been carefully introduced. You’ll find introducing your pets to each other is somewhat easier if one or both have them have lived with other cats or dogs before, but a slow and gentle introduction is always recommended. Not only is this safer, it’s more likely to help them to become good friends.

Cats and dogs can be the best of friends

Preparing for your new pet

Whether you’re introducing a dog or a cat into your home, you will need to make sure there’s a safe area where you’re cat can escape from the dog. If you’re introducing a new dog into the home, make sure this area is a place your cat already feels safe. Place your cat’s litter tray, food, water and bed in this area to make them feel as secure as possible.

 

Stair gates are incredibly useful for letting your pets smell and see each other, whilst still giving your cat an easy way to get away from the dog if they want to. You may wish to also start using a Feliway diffuser for a few days before you bring your new dog home, as they emit pheromones to help cats feel safe.

 

Finally, make sure there are plenty of high places your cat can easily access in order to hide and rest high up- this will be essential a bit later on in the introduction process.

 

Introducing kittens

Kittens are far smaller than adult cat, which combined with their playfulness, will result in a far more excited dog. Place your kitten into a dog crate that’s big enough for a litter tray, bed, places to hide and a scratching post. Help your kitten get used to the dog crate before meeting your dog, by introducing the kitten to the crate in the place kept away from the dog, allowing them to get used to going in and out when they want.

 

It’s all about scent

Smell is extremely important to both cats and dogs, so by spreading the smell of your new pet throughout your home before introducing them, you should find the first meeting goes better as your pets will already know things about each other.

 

Placing your new pet’s smell around the house should be done anywhere from a few days to a week before you let them meet face-to-face will help both pets to feel safer and more secure.

 

The first meeting

Whereabouts in the house you let your pets meet will depend on your house, but you need to make sure there’s an easy way for your cat to escape without being chased by your dog. One of the most important things when your cat and dog meet is that your dog isn’t allowed to chase your cat. If your dog develops a habit of chasing the cat, it’ll only get worse and you could find that your cat leaves as a result.

 

Have lots of food ready if your dog gets too excited or stares at the cat for too long. Your cat will watch the dog and decide for themselves when they feel it’s safer to get closer to your dog. Remember that when your dog is behaving well, to praise them with lots of fuss and treats to reinforce good behaviour.

 

If either pet appears distressed or scared, split them up, continue to spread each pets’ scents around and try again in a few days. Always keep the first few meetings short and try to end them on a positive note.

 

Maintaining a good relationship

As things improve between your cat and dog, you can start introducing them for a longer amount of time and more freely. Keep plenty of high places available for your cat and don’t leave them on their own until you’re entirely confident both animals are safe together.

 

Keep the cat’s food and litter tray well away from the dog to avoid distress, spraying and the cat going to the toilet elsewhere in the house.

 

Every cat and every dog is different, so what could take a week or two for some, may take many months for others. Remember, don’t rush anything and take things carefully and at your pets’ pace to maximise the likelihood of your cat and dog becoming the best of friends.

 

 

The team at Sereta Boarding Cattery have more than three decades’ of experience in all aspects of cat care. To find out more about our boarding cattery, give us a call on 01689 856168 today.

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