Are you adopting a new dog? Congratulations! We’re always thrilled to see pets getting loving homes. Of course, if you have a cat, your feline buddy probably won’t be as enthusiastic as we are about the situation. It’s important to handle introductions properly. First impressions are a very big deal to pets! In this article, a vet discusses getting Fido and Fluffy started out on the right paw.
Before bringing Fido in, you’ll want to put Fluffy in a quiet back room with kitty essentials. After your pup has sniffed everything, let your kitty out, and put Fido in the quiet room. It’s now your cat’s turn to get used to the new scent. Keep switching back and forth, alternating which pet has free reign and which one is in the comfy, quiet room. Pay extra attention to your cat during this stage, so she doesn’t feel ignored or isolated.
After a few days of swapping places, both pets should have accepted the idea that there’s another furball in the house. If they seem fairly calm about it, 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, so they can see and sniff each other through a barrier. Offer both Fluffy and Fido treats and praise to help sweeten the deal. If all goes smoothly, proceed with caution. If not, you’ll need to start over. Monitor all interactions carefully, and don’t leave your dog and cat alone unsupervised until you’re sure that they’re getting along.
Before bringing Fido home, make sure Fluffy has a place to go in every room. That way, she always has a safe space to escape to if she feels scared or threatened. This should be somewhere your dog can’t reach her. Vertical spaces, such as cat towers, work great for this. (Your feline friend will also get a scratching post and napping spot out of the deal.) Kitties also should have some hiding spots behind or beneath chairs, sofas, and beds.
Fido and Fluffy often do learn to cohabitate, and do just fine. They occasionally become bffs, but they also may just ignore each other. However, there are times when cats and dogs fight like, well, cats and dogs. This can be quite dangerous, especially for the cat. If your pets don’t warm up to each other, or if your dog is showing any signs of aggression towards the cat, consult your vet or a professional trainer right away.
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