It’s a common opinion that cats and dogs simply can’t stand each other. Popular culture has further promoted this stance with cartoons and movies in which dogs and cats are in an all-out war. However, contrary to popular belief, cats and dogs actually get along just fine. Therefore, if you already own a cat and want a dog or vice versa, don’t worry, everything will be fine as long as you introduce them properly. But, how to properly introduce a cat to a dog?
Introduce A Cat To A Dog: Step-By-Step Guide
To Each Their Own
Make sure both cat and dog have their own private space where they can be alone, lie down, and relax. You need to set up a physical barrier between the dog’s and cat’s part of the room or assigne separate rooms for this purpose.
Also make sure both the cat and the dog have their toys, food, and water bowls.
Cat or dog-proof the house by removing poisonous plants and objects that can cause them harm.
Keep Them Separated
Keep the cat and dog separated for the first 3 to 4 days. Don’t allow them to come in contact. You want your pets to get used to each other without seeing each other. Even though they won’t come face-to-face during this period, they will still be able to smell each other.
Teach Them To Associate Each Other With Positive Things
You want to instill in your pets a feeling that the presence of other pets means food. To make them associate each other with good things, you need to feed them on the opposite sides of the barrier that divides them. This barrier can be a simple wire barrier or a closed door, it doesn’t matter.
Start with placing their bowls further apart and gradually decrease the distance with each meal. Once the dog and the cat are eating from their bowls calmly next to the barrier, you have succeeded.
It’s Time For A Face-To-Face Meeting
Now that your pets have grown accustomed to each other’s presence and smell, and are also calmly eating food next to the barrier, it’s time for the next step.
We can now move on to organizing face-to-face meetings. The most important thing is to organize the meeting in a neutral area, so none of the animals feel territorial. Also, keep your dog on a leash and ask him to sit and give him some treats. Let your cat walk around the room as she wishes. Don’t pull or restrain your dog as this can cause aggression.
If you notice any sign of aggression in either of them, return them to their areas until they calm down.
Keep Sessions Short And Repeat Them Daily
Try to keep the sessions short and end each one before pets show signs of aggression. Also, repeat these sessions daily to make your pets more accustomed to each other.
Let Them Loose Together
Once you are positive your cat and dog are getting along well, let them loose in the same room together. However, make sure your dog is still on a leash, but let him drag it on the floor. This way you will still have time to control the dog if he starts chasing the cat. Also, make sure your cat always has somewhere to run away from your dog.
Separate The Pets When You Are Not Home
Don’t leave your cat and dog together in one room when you are not at home. They can injure themselves or cause substantial material damage. Always separate pets when you are not there to supervise them.
To properly introduce a cat to a dog you need to prepare them separate rooms or areas where they can be alone. The process of introduction needs to be gradual with small but significant steps. Always stay cautious during face-to-face meetings as things can go wrong in an instance.