Has a new dog just joined your family? Congratulations! Of course, if you have a kitty, your feline pal probably won’t be as enthusiastic as we are. First impressions are a very, very big deal to pets, so it’s important to handle introductions properly. Here, a local vet discusses getting Fido and Fluffy started out on the right paw.
Before bringing Fido home, put Fluffy in a quiet back room with kitty essentials, like bedding, toys, treats, boxes, catnip, dishes, and, of course, a litterbox. After your pup has sniffed everything and has taken a walk, let your cat out and put Fido in the quiet room. This will let your kitty get used to the new scent. Keep switching back and forth. Pay lots of extra attention to your cat, so she doesn’t feel ignored or isolated. Kitties have a tendency to get very jealous!
Meet N Greet
After a few days of swapping places, your pets should have accepted the idea that there’s another furball in town. If they seem fairly calm, you can let them officially meet. Don’t give them full access to each other just yet, though. Use a carrier or a puppy gate to let them see and sniff each other through a barrier. Offer both Fido and Fluffy yummy treats and praise to help sweeten the deal. If all goes smoothly, proceed with caution. If not, start over. Be sure to monitor all interactions carefully. Don’t leave your dog and cat alone unsupervised until you’re sure they’re getting along.
Keeping Fluffy Safe
Make sure that your feline friend has a place to go in every room. That way, she always has an escape if she feels threatened or scared. This should be an area the dog can’t reach. Vertical spaces, such as cat towers, work great for this. (Your furball will also gain a scratching post and napping spot out of the deal.) Fluffy may also appreciate having some hiding spots behind or beneath chairs, sofas, and beds.
In many cases, dogs and cats do learn to cohabitate, and often do just fine as roommates. Fluffy and Fido may even become bffs, though it’s more likely that they’ll just agree to ignore each other. However, sometimes cats and dogs fight like, well, cats and dogs. This can be a very dangerous situation. If your pets don’t warm up to each other, consult your vet or a professional trainer. Otherwise, if things don’t go well, one of your pets–most likely your kitty–could get hurt!
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