Introducing a new dog into a cat’s home

Giove Goodwin from Birmingham is our Moggy of the Week, thanks to his dad, Ben, letting us know just how calm and well-behaved he has been since the family got a puppy.

Now most folks think that kitties and dogs can’t ever get on, but with the right introduction techniques, a strong bond can end up developing, where your existing cat takes the new puppy into the family fold and treats them like they have always been a part of the pack.

The right dog for your cat

If you’re thinking of getting a dog, it’s essential to ensure that you first adopt one that has either been around cats before and knows not to chase them or one that has a compatible temperament to your existing feline family member. Remember that you’re essentially bringing a stranger into your cats home and family so be considerate.

So, for shy and skittish cats, having a dog that is energetic, playful and loud would be a very bad match, while a cat that is brave, calm and confident might be a better match for that particular type of dog. If your cat is old, perhaps steer away from adopting a young puppy as an older dog who is laidback would be more welcomed by your kitty.

Introductions

The introduction should take place at the cat’s home and initially you should have the new dog on a lead and allow your cat free reign of the room that you introduce them in, so your kitty can get used to the puppy’s scent. After a few days of ‘introducing’ them this way, swap it up. Put your cat in a carry case or other confined enclosure and let the dog loose to wander and have a sniff and get used to the scent of the house. Do this at regular intervals over the first week or so, to ensure both your cat and the dog are happy to be in near proximity but without them both being free to run away or attack the other and never allow them to both be unrefined in the same room without anyone there to keep an eye on things.

Your cat and dog will have their own rooms in the house for this period, but when you feel they are doing well with the initial intros, you can then feed them together in the same room, supervised. After you’re convinced that all is OK and neither your cat or your new dog are going to harm the other then, and only then, can you consider leaving doors open throughout your home for both to come and go as they please without you having to supervise their interactions.

If your kitty is truly unhappy with the match, he or she will let you know. Their behaviour will change and as they are stressed and unhappy they will likely stop eating, drinking, coming to see you, settling on your lap, and may also start urinating outside the litter box. You should always keep your cat’s litter tray up high or shut away from the dog anyway though, as no kitty wants to be watched or disturbed when going about their business.

Take note if these things happen as it’s your cat’s way of telling you that there is something wrong. A good relationship may take a while to develop or, in some cases, your kitty may well simply tolerate the dog, but being sensible and keeping a close eye on them both during the introduction period is important.

Thankfully for Ben , his cat Giove and his new puppy, Otto, turned out to be a good match: “Our cat Giove is a little star; such a calming influence after a stressful day as he always wants a cuddle. Our family has just expanded to include a puppy and Giove has been more than accommodating and is now the best of friends with Otto!”

Here’s to a successful introduction of a new puppy to an existing kitty’s home and family Ben – well done!

 

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