When introducing a new cat or dog into the household, it’s important to make sure that they can live safely with one another. A good indication is whether the dog has lived safely with a cat before. Even if they’ve had experience living with the other species, you still want to introduce them to each other in a controlled setting gradually. If there’s more than one dog, introduce them to the cat separately. It is recommend that the pet parent wait until the cat has adapted to the new home before introducing him or her to the dog.
Prior to the first introduction, you may want to walk your dog. You want the dog to be calm. When the dog is calm, you can then bring the cat into the room and place her on a table or have her in a carrier. Give both of them treats while they’re watching each other. If either one become nervous or agitated, stop the introduction.
When introducing them next, have the cat on a table or chair. Have your leashed dog sit, and give both of them a lot of treats. If they seem comfortable with each other, you can bring the dog closer. You may want to ask the dog to lay down. Keep giving them treats as you bring them closer. You should continue with these supervised, short, and calm visits for as long as necessary.
When the dog and cat are behaving themselves, you can introduce them to each other with the dog off his leash. Make sure kitty has a way to escape, if necessary, like something high to jump on. You’ll still want to supervise these visits and make sure there isn’t any chasing or intimidation. If there are issues, you’ll need to go back to the leash and crate method.
After there have seen several successful unrestrained introductions and you feel comfortable, you can let them interact together unsupervised. Make sure kitty has an escape route. Make the unsupervised visits short, gradually increasing the time of these visits.
When integrating animals together, it’s important not to rush the process. With patience most animals can live together peacefully. However, sometimes it just can’t work out. This can be a dangerous or even deadly situation. If the cat or dog continue to behave aggressively or in a predatory manner when you’re attempting to introduce the two, it may just not work out, and you’ll want to return the cat to us.
If a dog has a strong predatory drive, he’ll become very focused, stiffen, and stare. He may also start whining and barking. If your dog starts to exhibit this type of behavior, don’t allow the dog near the cat. Definitely don’t let the dog chase the cat. Dogs that injure or kill cats have a strong predatory drive. More than one dog in a household are more prone to be a risk factor for this type of behavior. It doesn’t take long for a dog to injure or kill a cat. A cat can injure a dog too; for example, scratching an eye. Not all dogs who chase cats are prey driven. They may not do physical damage, but there’s the psychological stress factor for the cat. If you don’t feel like you can trust your dog, you need to keep him away from the cat.
A cat can also be the aggressor. Make sure kitty is not harassing, stalking, and swatting the dog. This type of behavior could cause the dog to become aggressive towards the cat.
When introducing the dog to kittens, you’ll want to supervise very carefully. Your dog could kill or injure a fragile kitten very quickly by just trying to play. The kitten won’t have any fear of the dog. Kittens like to run and play. A dog’s prey instincts could be aroused. For safety reasons, kittens should always be kept separate from the dog when you’re not there to watch.