Introducing Your New Cat to Your Dog

Dogs and cats are stereotyped as being the worst of enemies, but in reality, they can be the best of friends. If you already have a dog and are bringing home a cat, a careful introduction can lead to the blossoming of a close bond. In addition to taking your new cat to the animal hospital for a check-up and making arrangements for vaccinations and spay and neuter services as needed, have a plan for helping your cat and dog get to know each other. This advice will help.

Give Your Cat a Safe Space

It will be too overwhelming to your new cat to meet the whole family at once, so create a quiet room that your cat can stay in as he or she adjusts to the smells and sounds in the house. Equip the room with the litter box, food, and water, plus toys and a blanket or bedding to keep your cat cozy. You can go in and out to spend time with the cat, but keep your dog out until your new cat feels more at home.

Introduce the Smells

When your cat has started feeling more comfortable, start feeding your pets on either side of the closed door. Keep your cat’s food near the door on the inside of the room while you place your dog’s food outside. This will let them get used to each other’s scents while doing something they enjoy, like eating. When they are calm during meals, make the scent association stronger by swapping blankets or towels between the animals.

Use Crates and Leashes

When it is time for your kitty to come out of the room, let your pets check each other out while you use restraints. Put the cat in the crate and keep your dog on his or her leash, then, have them spend time in the same area as you make introductions. Next, transition to the cat being loose while the dog is on the leash. Once they are used to each other in this way and your dog doesn’t lunge at the cat, they can both be free to explore together.

At Chastain Veterinary Medical Group, our pet hospitals in Dallas and McKinney offer comprehensive vet care services, including dog and cat dental cleanings and emergency services. To schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians, please phone Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at (972) 239-1309 or phone Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in the McKinney/Frisco area at (972) 529-5033.

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