Here’s How To Properly Introduce Your Dog To Your New Cat
If you have a cat and want to get a dog (or the other way around), there are a few things to keep in mind about their first encounter. Placing them both loose in the same room and hoping that they’ll just get along is bound to fail, so have a bit of patience.
Generally, there are a few things to consider, the most important one being the animals’ personalities. It might help to look for a pet that’s already been exposed to the opposing species before. If your dog attempts to chase every cat in the neighborhood, maybe it’s not such a smart idea getting one – or, at least, be very cautious about it. A dog that growls, barks or lunges at cats is probably best kept in a cat-free environment. For a dog who loves chasing cats, a shy, fearful cat is not the right choice because this can trigger the dog to chase. Instead, choose a cat who isn’t frightened so easily and will not run.
If your dog likes to play a bit rough, then kittens or elderly cats are definitely not for you. Instead, choose a playful adult cat that could be interested in playfully brawling with your pooch, one who is confident enough to take care of herself/himself. For a rambunctious, playful cat, a gentle playful dog is the best option.
The first steps of the introduction process are the most important ones. The introduction should always take place at home because taking a dog to a cat shelter could be extremely traumatic for all of the animals living there. A good alternative would be to have the animals meet on neutral ground, possibly at a friend’s house, where neither of them has a sense of territory. It’s a great way for them to meet without the pressure of “defending their den.”
During the next few days, rotate which animal is confined and which not in order to allow each of them plenty of time to investigate the scent of the other. The scent is the primary means both cats and dogs use to identify other people and animals, so once they get used to each other’s scents and realize that particular scent is not a threat to them, they’ll start getting along much better. If your dog keeps barking at the barrier you’ve put between them and the cat for more than a day, it’s possible that you will need professional help getting them to bond.
To find out more about this age-old dilemma, check out these stories about cat and dog friendships: