Introducing a cat to a resident dog

09/18/2014 12:09

Introducing a New Cat to a Resident Dog

Dogs and cats who have not experienced each other will require some extra time to become accustomed to one another. Dogs usually want to chase and play rough with cats, and cats are usually nervous and defensive. You can start with the techniques described in the page “Introducing a New Cat to a Resident Cat” (included in your Adoption packet). If your dog does not already know the commands “sit”, “come”, and “stay”, you should begin working on them as soon as possible. Little tidbits of food or treats provide motivation for your dog to perform and will be necessary in the presence of such a strong distraction as a new cat.

1. First, begin as described in the “Introducing a New Cat to a Resident Cat” article. Take the time to go through each step thoroughly. This process should not be rushed, because you are building a relationship that will last for the life of the animals and will make your home a harmonious one. Next, follow these tips:

2. Once the cat is comfortable in her new house, and has been introduced to the smells of the dog, you can attempt a face-to-face meeting in a controlled environment. Pt on your dog’s leash and command him either to “sit” or “down” and “stay”. Have another family member or friend enter the room with the cat and quietly sit with the cat on his lap. The two animals should begin at opposite ends of the room. Praise both animals and provide treats. This provides each a positive experience that each will associate with seeing the other. Repeat this step several times until both animals are tolerating one another with no fear, aggression, or other undesired behavior.

3. Next, move the two animals a bit closer together, with the dog still on his leash and the cat still gently held in a lap. If the cat does not tolerate being held, you could also use a wire crate or a carrier. If the dog gets up from his “stay” position, he should be firmly repositioned. Praise and reward him for obeying the “stay” command. If the cat becomes frightened, increase the distance between the two animals and progress more slowly. Providing the cat with a cat tree or high perch to be above the dog will make her feel more confident, safer, and in more control of her situation.

4. Try to direct each session so that they dog is likely to do the right thing and receive your praise. Your dog must be taught that chasing and roughhousing with the cat is unacceptable behavior. However, if the dog is always punished when the cat is around and never has positive experiences in her presence, the dog will associate the cat with unpleasant reprimands.

5. You may want to keep your dog on a leash and with you when the cat is roaming free in the house during her introduction process. Be sure that your cat has an escape route (usually up high), and a place to hide where she won’t be found by the dog. Keep the two animals separated when you are not home until you are certain they will both be safe.

A word of caution: Dogs love to eat cat food because it is very high in protein, and therefore extremely tasty, but it is not good for them. Some vitamins and amino acids in cat food are not needed by dogs and can make them sick if consumed. Keep cat food out of the dog’s reach (in a closet, on a high shelf, etc.). Likewise, cats should not eat dog food as it may cause dietary deficiencies.

Spare Cat Rescue

address: P.O. Box 335, Carthage, MO 64836 e-mail: website: phone: 417-358-6808