How to Introduce a Cat to a Dog

We have all heard stories of dogs and cats not getting along well. If you have either of them, and are planning to get the other one on-board, then you are up for a few hurdles along your way. Even if your cat or dog has loved with another pet in the past, there is no assurance that they will get along with the new one. Each animal has a different psychology and its own way of interacting with other pets. Cats are in general very slow and thus, need to be introduced to the other pet very slowly. It has been observed that slow introductions help prevent fear and aggression. To make the job easier, here is a step by step guide on how to introduce a cat to a dog.

Select The Perfect Location For Their First Meet

It is never advisable to take your dog or cat at the shelter home of the one being adopted. The animals at the shelter might not be trained for this, and this can cause a traumatic experience for the animals at the shelter, or to your own pet. Also, you never know how your pet will react in such a situation, and things can go south pretty soon. Thus, your house is the best place for the first introduction between the new pet and your existing one. If you still want to take your pet at the shelter, the best way is to consult the shelter’s adoption counsellors regarding the same.

Keep Them On Opposite Sides Of The Door

To enable them to get associated with each other slowly, feed them on the opposite sides of an opaque door. They will gradually get acquainted with each other’s smell and sounds. This will be accompanied with eating which is a pleasurable experience for them. Make sure that the dog does not bark at this point. If he does, move him a bit away from the door. Once they start eating peacefully in each other’s presence, to bring them closer, rub a towel on each of them and place it beside their bowl when they eat.

Keep The Cat In The Crate And Dog In The Leash Separately

Once they are accustomed to each other’s sounds and smell, you need to make sure that they get accustomed to being in restraints as well. Pets usually connect bad experiences to something. For example, restraining is often related to taking the pets to a vet, or other similar experiences which they do not like. If they are kept in restraints when they are bought close to each other, they will not get along well and will take it as a bad experience.

Cat In A Crate And Dog On A Leash

It’s finally time to let the two meet. Keep the cat in a crate and the dog on a leash. Bring the dog to the crate of the cat. Make sure that the dog doesn’t bark. Tell him to sit as soon as he enters the room. Keep calm and stay positive. They can feel your nervousness and will act in the same way. If this does not work the first time, try again the next day. Keep trying until they do not get annoyed at each other’s presence. You may try this for three sessions a day. If this does not work for more than a week, consult a professional. Ensure that the dog is listening and responding to your commands. If not, then increase the distance between the two. Also, start from longer distances, and eventually bring them close to each other. Allow the dog to sniff the crate and make sure he/she is not excited. Let the two examine each other for some time.

Keep The Cat Loose

Allow the cat out of the crate and keep the dog on a leash. If the cat does not come out of the crate, use a treat to get him/her out. Allow the cat to run and play, but make sure that the dog remains calm. If he tries to run or follow the cat, make sure you keep him/her calm. Keep doing this three times a day. Never allow the dog to follow or chase the cat even during a play. Things can go south and fatal at any point of time. Steadily increase the amount of time they spend together. It can be tough initially as the dog might be tensed or excited. In either way, it will try to make physical contact with the cat. Dogs are a lot more active than cats, and the cats can take the chase as a threat. This might ruin all of the work done till now. Thus, it is essential to take things slow. Use your commands to make your dog sit and ensure that you strictly say ‘No’ to him when he gets excited.

Keep Both The Dog And The Cat Loose

Once the dog stops reacting to the cat jumping around, and stays relaxed in all situations, you can now keep both of them loose together. However, keep a very close supervision on them even if they seem to be calm. After a few weeks, you can leave them unsupervised. In such a scenario, make sure you have a barricade or a blockage somewhere in the room which the cat can access but the dog cannot. This will help the cat escape if things go wrong, and will also provide them with their own personal space.

Managing two pets is a tough job in itself, let alone managing a dog and a cat. Things might be a bit tough in the initial days, but if done right, you will be able to eventually have a great time with the both of them together. Make sure that you do not hesitate to seek professional help whenever needed. This is a delicate matter and requires time and attention to pull off. You have to understand their psychology in order to make the process effortless.