Dog Meets Cat: How to Introduce The Fur-Babies Without Losing An Eye
The nuptials are over and now it’s time to join the two houses, which also includes your fur-babies. So you have a cat and he has a dog, or vice versa.. and you’re Googling the intro instructions. “Dog Meets Cat, Then Eats Cat.” Is not the article you were hoping for.
So let’s take it step by step from here, and hope everybody ends up one big happy family.
For the most part, dogs and cats can live together peacefully, but every once in a while you have a real a$$hole (let’s be honest, it’s probably the cat) and the whole introduction can go to hell. Knowing each one’s personality is your first clue to the meet and greet. Is your dog skittish or naturally inquisitive? Does your cat hide from everybody? Basically take your first queue from them and don’t push too hard, too fast.
It’s All About Body Language
If your cat’s ears are pinned back and its tail is going back and forth super fast, it’s pretty displeased. And if your dog has a strong inclination to seek out and chase smaller animals, then you’ll notice that it might stiffen, stare or start whining and barking. Paying attention to the signs will definitely help you with the introduction and save a trip to the vet.
Slow and Steady
Both your dog and cat will need time to get used to each other (just like you need to get used to dirty boy socks on the bathroom floor). You’ll need to gradually increase exposure to each other. Set out a safe place for your cat in a room with a gate or enclosed area. You want to be sure to separate them and only allow them to view each other for awhile. Just make sure that your cat can’t get out when you’re not home.. yikes. Holy destruction of property..
Let both see each other through a gate if possible. It’s a good idea to keep your dog on a leash for the ‘initial viewing’. That way they know you’re the boss and in control of the situation.. sort of.
Praise and Reward
Give treats for good behavior around the cat and when your dog is able to focus elsewhere. Training treats are great, they’re so tiny you can give them a bunch during lots of ‘good boy, good girl, don’t eat the cat’ conversations. Continue these short viewings throughout the day for a few days. The dog will soon get used to the cat’s smell and weird noises they make, and vice versa – all without over stimulating each other. Usually, it’s the dog that will lose interest in the cat first. From there, let the cat out in the same room and but keep your pup on a leash. Depending on the dog, you might want to consider a gentle leader or ‘canny collar’. Once the cat seems comfortable around the dog, at close range, let go of the leash but keep the dog hooked up to it. The dog will still have the gentle leader on and be more submissive.
Is everybody still in one piece?? Good! The occasional dominance battle may occur but introducing them slowly will lessen the risk of big fights.
But we all know who's REALLY in charge....