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While we focus on dogs on this site today we are going to discuss one of man’s and our pets long time dilemmas—-introducing cats and dogs, or the other way around, into our home. The fact is that about 50% of pet lovers have both cats and dogs in their home. Let’s start with you already being the proud owner of one or more dogs and now you or a family member wishes to bring a kitty into the happy family.
Introducing cats and dogs
This can quickly turn into a bad idea when introducing cats and dogs if handled improperly, or go smoothly when you and your family are prepared for the initial meeting of Rover and kitty. If this is the first time your dog has been around a kitten or adult cat you might want to prepare for the worst and hope things do not turn ugly. Start by keeping the dog on a leash when the feline is brought into the home.
Unlike dogs, cats need time when introducing cats and dogs to a new environment and doubly so if a dog is already living there. Go very slowly with this initial meeting. Make preparations before this meeting of family dog and new cat by choosing a room for the cat to live in until he or she begins to adjust and feel more comfortable. Spare bedrooms is an ideal choice, and have the litter box already in place as well as food and water bowls, toys, blanket, and a place for the cat to hide if the need arises. Instead of keeping the room door closed use a gate at the entrance so the cat does not feel completely isolated.
The last thing you want to do when your new cat crosses the threshold of his new home is be carrying him in your arms, that is unless you want scratched and be witness to a zoo erupting when your dog arrives and they lay eyes on each other. Always use a carry cage for this first introduction and have someone keep your dog on a leash at a safe distance from the caged kitty. Go directly to the previously prepared kitty room and leave the cat in there with the door to the cage open. He or she will gradually calm down, begin to explore the new surroundings, and eventually venture out of the room. Do not expect this to happen in minutes as this can take a few days.
If you have a yard and can put the dog there when the cat first arrives, that is quite probably the best approach. The logic and idea behind this approach is best described in the following Cats.About.com article:
…cats aren’t interested in meeting new friends until they know all the good hiding places and have cheek-rubbed and mapped the territory. Send Fido into the yard during Tabby’s exploration, or shut the dog inside the new cat’s room so he can sniff where she’s been.
Let your new kitten or adult cat set the pace for becoming a part of the family. They will do so in their own time as introducing cats and dogs mean adjustments will need to be made by the dog as well as your family.
Have you encountered this situation? Please feel free to leave your comments below.