Introducing a new feline or canine member to the family is exciting, but it can also be a little overwhelming for all concerned since cats and dogs are notorious for not getting along. Despite this stereotype, many cats and dogs can learn to live together peacefully and even enjoy each other’s company! To make that happen, you should know how to introduce a cat to a dog for the first time – properly. By letting a loose cat and an off-leash dog meet each other in an open room for the first time, you are probably setting up the scene for a disaster. Instead, we can help you plan ahead, so you would turn these frenemies into friends in no time. Here’s how to teach a dog and cat to get along from the very first time they lay their paws on each other!
Will my cat and dog ever get along?
This is probably a question that weighs heavily on your mind if you’re thinking about introducing a cat to a dog for the first time. Cats are more likely to display territorial and defensive behavior towards a new dog, while when introducing a cat to a resident dog, it’s more likely that the dog will see the new cat as prey and chase after it. Although dogs and cats are portrayed as natural enemies, if introduced carefully, they can actually get on really well, or at least learn how to tolerate one another and co-exist. So, before you give up, take things slowly by following the advice below – a gentle, planned introduction is far safer than a rushed one, and will hopefully result in both pets eventually becoming friends.
How to make cat and dog friends?
Before introducing a cat to a dog, it’s important to have realistic expectations. Even if your pet has successfully lived with other cats or dogs in the past, it is important to remember that each dog and each cat is an individual and therefore, each new introduction is different. For it to be successful, you will need to have the dog’s or cat’s breed/type, age, temperament, and activity level in mind. Older cats, especially those that are not an ideal cat weight, are likely to be less energetic than young kittens. For example, a seven-year-old cat that has never been around other dogs may have a hard time learning to share her territory (and people) with other pets in the household. However, an eight-week-old kitten might prefer to have a playful dog companion, and vice-versa.
How to get a cat and dog to bond?
When introducing cats and dogs, you have to start off on the right foot – that is, paw, in this scenario. The first step is to ensure that whichever animal is already resident in the household is as unaffected as possible. If you’re wondering how to introduce a cat to a dog successfully, follow these 5 steps to get the most out of this precious moment.
Prepare a safe space
Before you bring your new cat or dog home, you should spend some time preparing your house for the grand arrival. You will need to provide a safe area for the cat that the dog will not have access to, so it can easily retreat if it wants to. Meeting a new furry friend will probably be unsettling at first to both animals, so safe access to resources like food and water will be necessary.
Keep the dog and cat separate at first
Keep the pets separate for the first 3-4 days, before you introduce a cat to a dog. During that time, rotate which animal has the freedom and which is confined to allow each animal plenty of time to investigate the other one’s scent, so the pets would get used to each other’s presence without face-to-face contact. This will also allow the newcomer to become familiar with the new surroundings without being frightened.
Control the first introduction
Keep the first few sessions short and calm, allowing both animals to be in the same room at the same time, but keep the dog securely leashed. It should best be carried out after a walk when the dog is likely to be calm. One of the most important rules of introducing cats and dogs and preventing a disaster is to make sure that the dog can’t chase the cat and that the cat has an easy route back to its ‘safe area’.
Repeat & treat
Repeat these face-to-face sessions a few times a day. Save your pets’ favorite treats for when they are together and reward them for their good behaviour, for some positive reinforcement. If the cat attempts to leave the room, allow it to do so, and do not let the dog chase after it. Continue this indefinitely, until both dog and cat seem happy and relaxed around each other.
The grand finale
When both cat and dog appear to be getting along well, allow them loose in the room together, keeping the dog’s leash attached and dragging on the floor, so that you can easily step or pull on it to prevent this moment from turning into a wild chase. If tension erupts, go back to the earlier steps and repeat the process, until both pets are ready.
Cat and dog living together tips
In addition to keeping things as normal as possible, it’s important to resist the temptation to spend too much time with the new arrival, to the exclusion of the existing pet, to avoid jealousy. Whatever the pets love, increase it – this will build good associations with their new situation and the new housemate. Baby gates can also be used to keep the animals safely and comfortably apart. Make sure you use our tips on how to introduce a cat to a dog so that they both feel loved and safe in their surroundings at all times, as well as happy and healthy with the help of ImmunoPet. Cross your fingers and hope for the best! If your attempts still don’t go well, seek help from a professional.
Why does my dog act like a cat?
Some dog breeds are more cat-like than others, just like you might have witnessed weird cat behavior finally explained in our other article. Still, if this question pops up, it probably means you figured out how to introduce a cat to a dog successfully, and created an enjoyable feline-canine cohabitation or even a life-long friendship!
How to make cats and dogs get along for good?
Remember that all pets are unique and you’ll have to work at the pace they are comfortable with. Some cat and dog introductions will progress quickly without a hitch, but others may take longer. It’s important not to rush things. Keep in mind that your dog and cat may never become best buddies. Hopefully, however, they can still be able to coexist in peace by seeking out their own space and spending most of their time apart. If so, take it as a win!
Jack was born and educated in Ireland and U.K. He has a varied education, mostly in engineering projects. Since then he has worked with a number of major companies with interests in various parts of the world. His personal interests include athletics, cross country skiing and especially long distance running. Jack has competed in many running events and some at an international level, including many marathons. He has always had a keen interest in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. More recently he has specialized in the areas of health and supplements, with a special focus on the immune system.