Is it possible for a cat and a dog, particularly a young dog, to coexist peacefully at home? If the two animals are properly introduced, their chances of getting along may be maximized.
Here are nine simple steps for introducing a new puppy to an older resident cat without making the fur fly.
Set up the scene for the cat and puppy meeting.
First, it is essential for the cat to have a safe escape route, if he or she should feel threatened by the energetic canine newcomer.
Clear off tables and counters near the meeting spot, so the cat can climb quickly out of harm’s way, if needed. Use safety gates to restrict the puppy to certain areas of the home, so the older resident cat may travel unhindered through the rest of the house.
Put the kitty’s essentials out of the puppy’s reach.
A pet owner can set the cat and puppy up for success by keeping the cat’s food, water, litter box and other necessities out of the range of the puppy. This way, the cat may continue his or her own daily routine without interruption from the canine newcomer.
Ideally, the cat’s essentials are relocated, if needed, several days before the puppy’s arrival.
Acquaint the cat and puppy with one another’s personal scent.
Animals size one another up by smell. The pet owner can rub a small towel or cloth onto each pet and then present the item to the other animal. The cat and the puppy may need several moments to sniff and grow familiar with the scent of the other pet. This process may be repeated many times until both the cat and the puppy are able to sniff the other’s scent from the cloth without growing agitated or excited.
Give the cat and puppy private tours of each other’s domain.
Many pet owners choose to allow the cat to check out the puppy’s bed, cage, crate or other living quarters closely – while the puppy is elsewhere. (For the best results, this step is conducted after the puppy has arrived in the home and left his or her scent in this spot.)
Next, the puppy is allowed to sniff his or her way through the cat’s favorite spots in the home as well. (Of course, the puppy must be closely supervised, so he or she does not chew up the cat’s toys, eat the cat’s food or dig in the dreaded kitty litter box.)
Provide a limited introduction of the cat and puppy through a barrier.
Often, a cat and a new puppy may be given an opportunity to check one another out through the bars of a safety gate, the grate of a puppy cage or another obstacle.
Enlist a helper for the actual face-to-face meeting of cat and puppy.
A capable and responsible helper is essential, when the time comes for the big meeting between the cat and the new puppy. Two sets of hands are needed, so each pet may be held, leashed or guarded.
Allow the cat and puppy to interact under close supervision.
The new housemates, feline and canine, are then given the opportunity to grow acquainted, up close and personal.
Be patient, as the cat and puppy make take a while to accept one another.
Initially, per owners may notice signs of turmoil. Growling, hissing, screeching and spitting may occur. However, if the two animals are not endangering one another, they may be allowed to continue interacting. The process of acceptance can take time – plenty of time.
Several short practice meetings can be considerably more beneficial than one or two long, drawn-out sessions of cat-and-puppy conflict as well. And some cats may gradually accept a new puppy, but may remain aloof thereafter, rather than interacting or showing affection with the canine newcomer.
Avoid leaving the cat and puppy together unsupervised.
For safety’s sake, smart pet owners allow their cats and new puppies to interact only under supervision for several weeks or more. In time, however, the two pets may peacefully share the home. In fact, in some cases, a pet owner may be delighted to find the cat and the puppy curled up cozily together.