How to Introduce Dogs to Cats
Author: Abbey Harris
In a perfect world, dogs and cats would be instant friends. And in the movies, that’s usually how it is. But, we all know real life isn’t like the movies, right? Sometimes it can be tough to introduce a new puppy, or an old dog, to a feline friend.
At Natural Farm, we are all about making your pet’s life healthier and your life easier. So we’ve got a few tips on how to make that first introduction go as smoothly as possible.
Consider Personality Types
First thing’s first…you need a plan. You can’t just throw both furry friends into a room together and hope for the best. As with any plan, there are lots of things to consider. Like personalities.
If you already have a pet in your home (dog or cat), you likely have a pretty good idea of its personality. So think about a person you know with a similar personality and what kind of person you’d introduce to them and how you would do it.
The American Humane Society says, “A dog who growls, lunges at or obsessively barks at a cat would probably do best in a cat-free environment. Likewise, a cat who growls, swats at, runs or hides from dogs would probably do better in a dog-free environment.”
If your dog loves chasing things, then you’d do best with a calm, confident cat who won’t run in fear or during play. If your dog plays rough (which is totally normal), you’d want to look for a playful adult cat who is interested in play too, but also confident and strong enough to take care of itself.
Once you’ve nailed down your personality types, you can start the introduction process. As with people, first impressions matter.
A slow and safe introduction
Introductions should take place at home.
Start by keeping them separated, but rotate which animal has freedom to roam and which is confined to allow scent investigation without physical interaction.
When the dog quits sniffing for the cat and the cat is eating and using the litter box normally, physical introductions can begin.
You want to ease in. Allow both animals to be in the same room, supervised, with the dog securely leashed. Just as before, you want to continue these interactions until the dog essentially ignores the cat’s presence and the cat is eating and using the litter box normally.
You don’t want to start unsupervised time together until you’ve completed about a month of supervised interaction and are POSITIVE they will not hurt each other when left alone.
Dogs and cats live together in harmony all the time whether they came into the house together, or were introduced to one another later. Trust your gut and have patience with your furry friends and you'll soon have your dog and cat sharing your home happily together.