Introducing a new cat to your dog

Introducing a new cat to your dog can be an exciting and stressful affair. Understandably, you are a little worried about how your dog is going to take to this new arrival!

Rest assured, there are ways to effectively minimise that stress and help your pets to get along together.

Here are tips on introducing a new cat to a dog, without causing too much friction.

The key to successful introducing a new cat to your dog is to take it slowly and not force the situation.

tip 1: prepare your dog for the new arrival

Even if your dog has lived with other animals before, never assume that he will take kindly to a new pet coming into his territory.

Therefore ensure that the new cat is not a threat to your affection for him by giving him your attention and praise when you bring the new cat home. Do note that dogs can easily hurt or even kill a cat so never leave them alone together in those early days.

tip 2: prepare a room for your new cat

For a start, getting to know a new cat can be trick. Start to make your new arrival feel at home by preparing a safe space for them. Ideally, having their own room if it is possible. Put a bed, a litter box, food and water into the space, and then leave the cat alone to explore. To be safe, keep your cat completely separate from your dog until your new cat warms up to you first.

tip 3: let your pets smell each other

Try to feed your cat and dog behind a closed door simultaneously, so that they can smell each other before meeting face to face. Keep your dog from whining or barking at the door, as this can be very intimidating for your new arrival.

Introduce the animals to each other by swaping their blankets or towels with their scents on it in each other’s bed. This will help them pick up the scent and become comfortable around it before coming into contact.

Another way, is to introduce each animal to the other’s space when they are not there, and let them have a good sniff.

tip 4: supervise Meeting for the first time

The first meeting must be supervised. Keep your cat in their box and put your dog on a leash so that they can see each other without any physical contact taking place.

Make your dog sit, and be prepared to take him out of the room if they get too excited. Repeated the activity until both animals can relax when together. Do reward both for their good behaviour by giving them lots of praise and cuddles.

tip 5: comfortably together

Once your pets are realxed together in the same room, it is time to let your cat out of the box. However, do keep your dog on his leash. If your cat seems reluctant to come out, gently coax her with a treat. Once out of the box, let the cat explore, keeping your dog at your side. Repeat the activity several times a day, until your dog is able to relax when the kitten is exploring.

tip 6: letting your dog off the leash

When your dog can remain calm with your cat is in the same room, it is time to let him off the leash.

Be mindful that getting to this stage can sometimes take weeks and longer.  The key to successful introducing a new cat to your dog is to take it slowly and not force the situation.

If you need to leave your pets home alone during the day or of your dog is struggling to relax around your cat, it is best to keep them separated by a physical barrier if necessary, until your cat and dog are comfortable with each other.

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