Since 50% of all pet owners have both dogs and cats in their homes, we have done a 2-part series on this subject. In the first segment of this subject we covered introducing cats and dogs with the emphasis on bringing the kitten or adult cat into your home when you already own a dog. Now we will take a look at this from the opposite side where you already own a cat and are now going to bring a dog into your home and family.
Introducing cats and dogs
Keep in mind that at this first meeting between your cat and new dog the one thing you do not want happening is coming in the house with the dog and just turning him loose. The cat is going to freak-out at this intrusion by a strange dog suddenly appearing within his domain. As dogs on the whole tend to be more social than cats the dog will either see a new friend in your cat or at the other extreme see it as something to hunt down and harm. Introducing cats and dogs require prior planning on your part if things are going to go smoothly.
Your cat will need to have space to hide if he or she is frightened by the appearance of the dog so make these places available. Also it is a good idea to use a few baby gates at various room entrances so the cat and dog will be separated. Over time, as the two animals begin to bond, the need for these gates will not be there and they can be removed.
As described in an article on eHow.com:
You don’t want your cat attacking and scratching the puppy, and you don’t want the pup to terrify the cat. Separating them with a baby gate, large wire crate or ex-pen for the pup keeps everyone safe. Do this until they are curious but not upset at the presence of the newcomer. Until you are sure everyone will get along well, keep them separated in your absence.
When introducing cats and dogs always keep the dog on a leash and remember cats and dogs are not necessary natural enemies, but there is an instinct there for dogs to chase cats so be prepared for this and keep a tight hold on the leash. Depending on how social your cat is he might take only a few minutes to come to the conclusion this new creature in his home is not a threat and approach the dog. If so you are well on your way to a quiet, happy home. If not lead your dog around the home and maybe take him out in the yard for some play time. This will allow the dog to become comfortable with his new surroundings and should help ease the transition for all involved.
Many people own cats and dogs and they get along fine so plenty of love and attention to both animals will speed the bonding process when introducing cats and dogs.
Do you own both a dog and cat? Any advice you care to share below is welcome.