Introducing Cats & Dogs: The Keys to Success
Hey! Looking into getting another furry addition for your home? Planning a proper introduction between your current and new pet residents is very important to the start of a happy friendship. Off leash introductions will almost always end in immediate failure and two stressed out pets. When introducing a new cat to your dog, or vice versa, follow these tips and pointers that will help your success rate of leaving peacefully together.
Behavior & Personality
The very first and foremost step to take when looking for your new dog/cat is the personalities of each side. If you have an aggressive dog that has a history of chasing squirrels, birds and other cats, probably would do best in a cat-free home. On the flip side, a skittish cat who growls, swats and runs away instinctively would most likely live a happier life dog-free. It is important to cater to the personalities of your pets. If your dog loves to chase, look for a calm, confident cat who will not trigger the dogs desire to chase. If you have a calm, laid back cat, look for its dog counterpart. Two passive pets will usually always get along better than two high energy, rambunctious pets.
Do not take your cat to a shelter or other establishment that houses a number of animals. Meeting in a shelter will cause extra stress and not be an indication of how the two will behave at home. If you are adopting a cat, ask the shelter adoption counselor if they are housing any confident or dog friendly cats. If they do, request a controlled meeting of your dog and the cat, if this is not possible, the introduction can be done at home.
After the animals are both home, rotate who is free to roam and who is confined. Doing this will allow each of the pets to safely explore each others scents. When no one is home to supervise, both should be confined so interactions are not possible. Once the dog is acting normally and its obsession with the cat has subsided, have your first leashed introduction. If your cat is showing signs of stress and anxiety, consider introducing a low dosage of a calming aid. Pisces recommends: Pet-tek Calm-aid. Allow both animals to be in the same room together, make sure the dog is securely leashed. If all is well and good, keep doing this until they are both showing relaxed and happy mannerisms around each other. If they are showing signs of hostility, revert back to rotation.
Once you are confident your cat and dog are coexisting peacefully, allow unsupervised interactions and enjoy your new pals!
Keep a Lookout For Distress
- Your dog tends to be excessively focused on the cat or lunging when it makes any movement. This is likely a dangerous match.
- If a dog/cat is showing unnecessary aggression towards a calm, gentle counterpart, the two living together will probably not work.
- Your cat has stopped eating/drinking/using the litter box. It is likely unhappy.
- If your cat is constantly hissing at your dog, try a new dog. If it continues, it is best for the cat to not have a dog companion.
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