How To Introduce A Dog To A Cat?

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When we love both cats and dogs, we wish to keep both of them together in the house. Thankfully, keeping them in a single home is possible. They are not always the enemies of one another.

Though herding breeds and aggressive dogs are an exception, many others display a loving nature. So, you can always bring a dog at home even if you already have an adorable kitty. But introducing the dog to your innocent feline can be challenging.

There are a few steps and preparations that you need to do to successfully introduce a dog to a cat. Do not worry!

This guide will provide complete details about it. Let’s learn how can we do it:

Prepare Separate And Safe Areas

Never be in a rush when introducing one pet to another. Give ample time, continue training, and soon you will see a positive response. Dog experts on the site We Love Doodles also give these suggestions.

For this, you can prepare separate sections for cats and dogs. It can be a spare room in your house where you can keep the new dog.

Purchase the following items for this room:

  • Door Separators

Door Separators

If you don’t have a spare room, a door separator can do the job. Separate both of the dogs with the door separator so that both of them can only smell each other.

It is safe too as the dog won’t hurt the cat. Besides this, the cat can hear the barking voice. It might sound strange to her but soon she will get habitual of it.

  • Stairgate

Another great option for a safe introduction is the stairgate. It enables the pets to see each other while staying safe. They can also smell and hear the sound of the other pet.

  • Litter Tray

The cat living in your house for a long will never allow a new pup to use its litter tray. Therefore, keep separate litter trays in their rooms. In this way, they won’t interact directly, which is essential for a smooth introduction.

  • Separate Food Bowls

Separate Food Bowls

Just like litter trays, never expect your cat to eat from your dog’s bowl. Cats are smart and they can catch the smell.

Plus, both of them will have different likes and dislikes when it comes to food. Buy separate food bowls in the beginning. They might share food and have a party time after becoming friends.

Use The Power Of Smell

Pets are great at smelling things. They can also detect the presence of other pets through their scent. All you need is to make them habitual of each other’s smell.

Introduce the dog’s smell to your cat while giving your dog ample time to adjust to a new house.

Here are a few tips to use the smelling power:

  • Rub your dog gently and then rub the cat with the same hand without washing.
  • Wipe the dog’s body with a piece of a soft cloth and then clean the items in your cat’s room with this cloth.
  • Try to use your new dog’s bedding for a cat. You can also swap the bedding.
  • After a few days, let the dog explore your house, but it should be done under supervision.

Get Ready For The First Introduction

After creating their separate rooms and doing the smell swapping, you should plan for the first introduction. But it’s not as simple as it sounds.  Every pet comes from a different background and a different history.

Recall the past behavior of your cat. Have you ever introduced a new pet to her? Or, how does it react with other pets outside the house? It will give you an idea about the introduction as well as the reaction.

The same is the case with dogs. If it is a pup, look at its breed and research its characteristics. Or, if you have taken the dog from a different owner, ask about its history.

Bonus Tips

Here are some extra tips for having a smooth introduction:

  • Before introduction, try to take both of the pets for a short walk separately.
  • If they show calm behavior, don’t forget to offer a treat.
  • Let them do whatever they want. Just keep an eye on them. Never force them to go closer.
  • Make sure that the time of this introduction is short. Afterward, you can gradually increase this time.
  • Be extra careful if you have small kittens at home. Dogs can be harsh with them. So, never leave them alone.
  • Cat’s claws are also dangerous and can hurt the dog. If the cat is showing signs of aggression, take it back gently.

Notice The Body Language

Notice The Body Language

Pay special attention to the body language of the cat and dog in the first introduction. Dogs having a strong prey drive focus too much on their targets. If you notice your dog paying extra attention with an aggressive face, quickly take an action.

Likewise, if the dog’s ears are moving backward or the tail is constantly swinging, it is a sign of feeling displeased. On the other hand, a relaxed body with a calm face shows positivity.

Provide Supervision Inside As Well As Outside The House

Dogs and cats may be so unpredictable at times. You might be feeling great because of their calm introduction. So, are you planning to let them stay together in a park?

You can introduce them outside the house as well, but don’t expect the exact same behavior. Environment plays a key role in our pet’s response.

Therefore, supervision is highly important.

Wrapping It Up

All in all, introducing your furry friend to your cat must be an exciting experience. But it requires a lot of patience and dedication.

Preparing different spaces for each pet, smell swapping, and first face-to-face interactions are a few key steps.

You might notice an unexpected behavior from the bossy cat. But never punish these innocent creatures. All they need is some time to accept the new housemates.

Never give up. After a few days, they will have a good time.


About Lydia Mady

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