How to Introduce a Cat to a Dog? – The term “fights like cat and dog” refers to two persons who constantly engage in violent disagreements or fights with one other. Despite this stereotype, several pet parents have succeeded in making their pet dog and cat peacefully co-exist.
This, however, may vary depending on the individual personality of the ‘dog’ and the ‘cat.’ Also, take the introduction process slowly and gradually present the dog and cat to each other. There are specific steps that maximize their chance of getting along.
A dog and cat can be friends. While they may playfully bully each other occasionally, they can grow up to be good friends and best buddies even if you choose to take the proper steps to acquaint them with each other.
The cat is the smaller of the two animals; it must have access to a dog-free space(sanctuary) at all times.
This is when the two pets are just getting to know each other, and you don’t know what to expect. Also, be prepared to manage the interactions between the two pets for the next several weeks and sometimes even longer.
What to Do When Your New Pet is a Dog?
When this is the case, it will help if you train your dog to obey commands. These could be simple commands such as sit, stay, lay down, etc. It would help if you established some control over your dog before letting it meet your cat face to face.
Repeat these sessions every day, but keep them short and pleasant. Remember to reward your dog well with treats, praise, and cuddles.
How to Introduce a Cat to a Dog?
A cat and a dog friendship is not something shown in the movies. It takes patience and a lot of the owner and their time to get accustomed to each other. That’s why you need to follow a strict procedure and let them take their precious hours to have an eternal bond.
Keep Them Separated for a Few Days
Keep both the pets separate for at least the first 3 or 4 days at least. Prevent any contact with the new pet until it has been thoroughly checked and cleared off illnesses. Keep the new pet in a separate room with the door closed. You can even keep the new pet on an entirely different floor if possible.
The idea is to let them live in the same house without coming into contact face to face. Even though they cannot see each other, they know about the other’s presence as they can hear and smell them.
Another technique is to feed both pets on opposite sides of a closed door. This way, both of them will tend to associate the presence of the other with positive and pleasant things like food.
Every day move their bowls a little closer to the door. Continue this process until both pets can eat comfortably with their bowls next to the door.
Begin Face-to-Face Meetings
When your cat and dog can eat calmly on either side of the door, this is an indication that they are ready for the next step. And the next step is a meet and greet in some common area of the house.
Keep these meetings short and calm. Allow the cat to move freely while keeping your dog on a leash. Do not hold either of the two pets in your hand, leading to injury. If any pets show signs of aggression, command your dog to sit and reward him with treats for obeying. Give your cat treats as well.
This way, they both will associate each other with pleasant things like food or treats.
When your pets get aggressive, you can also lure the cat with a toy and call your dog’s name to distract him. Don’t get disappointed if they don’t want to bond instantly. Have patience and repeat these sessions every day.
Let Them Loose
When they seem to be getting on well together, let them loose but let the dog wear its leash. This is to be able to control the dog in case he starts chasing the cat. Just supposing tension erupts, go back to letting them interact while being restrained. Repeat these sessions.
Do not let them interact unsupervised. Ensure that the cat has constant access to a dog-free refuge.
The sanctuary should have a litter box, lunch bowl, scratching posts, objects for climbing, etc. It will be nice if your cat has access to a few hiding places. This will make your cat feel more secure.
Watch the body language of both your dog and cat carefully when they meet. If your cat’s ears are pinned backward, or its tail is swishing from side to side, it’s a sign that it is displeased. Observe your dog too.
If your dog becomes stiff, stares at your cat, and starts barking or whining, it’s a clear sign that your dog could attack the cat. Some dogs have a strong prey drive. They view smaller animals such as squirrels, cats, mice, etc., as prey. This is when you have to be extra cautious.
Check Their Body Language
Your dog’s interaction can change even depending on the environment. Just because your dog is friendly with your cat inside the house doesn’t mean it will be the same case while outdoors. Always be aware and alerted to the body language of your dog and cat until you know exactly how each is going to react.
Introducing Kittens and Dogs
In case you are introducing a kitten to your full-grown dog, you have to be aware that the kitten will have 0% fear of the dog. Also, kittens like to run and play. This may excite your dog too much, and he may start chasing the kitten.
Your dog might be completely ok with adult cats, but that doesn’t mean you can leave a kitten with your dog unsupervised. A full-grown dog can attack and even kill a kitten. So for the kitten’s safety sake, keep both animals apart when you are not supervising them.
Introducing Adult Cats and Puppies
Introducing a puppy to an adult cat can be pretty straightforward. A well-socialized adult cat will be excellent with a puppy showing puppy behavior.
However, there could be instances of your shy adult cat getting chased by your naughty puppy. This is where you have to intervene.
When to Seek Professional Help?
In some cases, it may be a little more complicated than usual for your dog and cat to get adjusted to each other. Animals with good, positive past experiences get adapted pretty quickly to a new pet in the house.
Just in case the introductions did not go well, seek help from a professional dog trainer or behavior consultant. Never use punishment as a way of disciplining them. It can only make matters worse.
Becoming Pet Pals
It will be an entirely mutually beneficial bond if you manage to make your dog and cat bond. Both pets will never feel lonely or bored. And even for you, it will be a complete joy watching them grow together like siblings or friends.
Even though their personalities matter when it comes to how they bond, a lot depends on how you introduce them to each other. Let them interact with each other. But remember to lay boundaries and teach discipline.
If you love both cats and dogs, there is no reason why you shouldn’t adopt or buy both. It will be a most pleasurable and fulfilling experience to watch them play, sleep, eat and live together. Sometimes you may be pleasantly surprised by how well they get along.
Having a cat and a dog can lead to many amusing experiences, especially if both animals have their quirks. Also, you will benefit from both the unquestionably loyal adoration of your dog and the controlled, restrained affection showered by your cat.
There are lots of cats and dogs that co-exist and share a special bond. It all depends on how you introduce them to each other, how you discipline them if they show signs of aggression, and how you reward them for behaving themselves.
Keep an exceptional treat to reward both the cat and dog if they get along when they meet. This positive association will make both of them look forward to meeting each other.