Introducing a Dog to a home with a Cat

Cat and Dog

Introducing puppies to your cat is easier than with a grown dog, but it can be done.

Cats are very territorial while dogs want to be wherever you are.

It’s a good idea to bring home a dog that has had obedience training and socialization. Puppies should attend obedience classes.

You can begin the process by leashing and introducing the dog to the cat. You should separate the two at first, confining the dog to a room and just close the door or in a crate.

The cat should always have a means of escape, either access to another room or outdoors. Your cat should also have high places to climb on to escape unwanted attention from the dog and to feel safe.

Keeping the dog leashed, you can gradually introduce them, allowing them to sniff each other through the door. Sniffing is allowed, it’s their method of getting to know each other. When you judge the time is right, you can allow them to see and sniff each other through a gate placed at the door of the room.

Most dogs want to play with the cat, but they usually exhibit excitement and their body language may be threatening at first to the cat. Use a specific command every time you want the dog to leave the cat alone. Reinforce good behavior with lots of praise and by offering treats. Keep the cat’s nails clipped to avoid serious damage to the dog.

Dogs that are well exercised have less energy to bother the cat. So daily walks or runs are a must.

When you must go out and leave them alone, confine the dog to a crate or a room where he can’t escape. Leave some favorite toys and water for the dog.

Always make sure the cat has access to the litter box and food and water. Keep them in easy reach of the cat, but where the dog can’t get to them. Dogs that can reach the litter box often see it as a treat and a food bowl.

Always feed pets in separate areas. This avoids aggressive behavior. It also allows you to know how much your pet is consuming.

Introducing cats and dogs and letting them get acquainted requires time and patience, usually a lot of both.

Sometimes, in spite of all your efforts, they don’t get along and present a danger to each other. In that case you have a couple of options. You can keep them in separate areas of your home which is probably difficult. Or you can rehome one of them. Please don’t throw your pet out like the trash. Advertise, ask friends, family and neighbors, being sure the pet will go to a loving home. As a last resort, there are shelters. If you do have to put a pet in a shelter, please make sure it is a NO-KILL shelter. That’s the least a pet deserves.

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