Introducing Cats to Dogs

Introducing Cats to Dogs .....

When thinking about getting a cat in a household that already has a dog(s), take some time to consider what the resident dog will think about a new arrival; some breeds, especially terriers, are less compatible than others.

Although films and cartoons have depicted cats and dogs to be mortal enemies, in reality they can actually become good companions given the time to get used to one another.

Before getting a new cat in a house with either dogs or cats, take time to consider the personalities of all the animals and how they’ve reacted to a new comer previously. When choosing a cat, read its profile carefully to see if it’s lived with a dog or another cat before, whether they got on well or if that might be the reason the cat needs a new home.

Introducing a cat to the resident dog in the home is not a quick process and some cats can take months before feeling truly settled. The introduction process must be done slowly and repeatedly to avoid negative interactions which could result in the new cat never settling. The cat will need a separate area in a room away from other animals (see SETTING UP FOR YOUR NEW CAT).

First things first, scent swapping, a stage often rushed but for animals that rely enormously on scent, this is the most important stage of their introduction. Start by taking a piece of bedding or cloth, an old towel will do, to leave with the new cat in his foster home at least a week before, then swapping it for one with the dog’s scent on and vice versa. Continue after the cat moves in until both simply sniff and walk away from the new scent. If there are multiple dogs, this must be repeated individually.

Before progressing to a face to face meeting , try allowing them to see one another without being able to touch, maybe through glass or a mesh doorway, ensuring each can escape the situation when uncomfortable. When introducing the new cat to animals in a particular room, allow the cat to explore the room alone first – there will be a lot of scents for him to process.

Start by keeping meetings nice and short, ideally keeping the dog on a short lead and reassuring him while the cat explores, gradually lengthening the lead until dispensing with it after several encounters, returning the cat to his safe area each time. Gradually increase the length of time spent in each other’s company until they are happy living together.