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Introducing a Dog to Your Resident Cat

June 1 2021

Are you adopting a new canine buddy? Congratulations on your new arrival! Of course, if you have a kitty, Fluffy probably won’t be as enthusiastic about the situation as we are. First impressions are a very big deal to our furry friends, so it’s important to handle introductions properly. In this article, a local vet discusses getting your four-legged pals started out on the right paw.


Keeping Fluffy Safe

Make sure that your feline buddy has a place to go in every room. That way, she always has an escape if she gets scared. This should be an area Fido can’t reach. Vertical spaces, like cat towers, are purrfect for this. (Fluffy will also gain a scratching post and napping spot out of the deal.) You’ll also want to offer your kitty some hiding spots behind or beneath chairs, sofas, and beds.


Sniff

Before bringing Fido into your home, put Fluffy in a quiet back room with kitty essentials, like beds, toys, beds, catnip, food and water, beds, a litterbox, and beds. After your dog has sniffed everything and is ready to go out, let your cat out. Put Fido in the quiet room, and let your kitty get used to the new scent. Keep switching back and forth. Pay lots of attention to your feline pal, so she doesn’t feel ignored or isolated.


Meet N Greet

After a few days of swapping places, your pets should have accepted the idea that they have a roommate. At this point, you can let them officially meet. Use a carrier or a puppy gate to let them safely see and sniff each other through a barrier. Offering both pets treats and praise will help sweeten the deal. Monitor all interactions carefully, and don’t leave your dog and cat alone unsupervised until you’re sure they’re getting along.


Best-Laid Plans

Many times, dogs and cats do learn to cohabitate, and end up doing just fine. Fluffy and Fido often just agree to ignore each other. However, there are times when cats and dogs fight like, well, cats and dogs. This can be a pretty dangerous situation. If your furry buddies don’t warm up to each other, consult your vet or a professional trainer. Otherwise, if things don’t go very well, one of your pets–most likely your kitty–could be seriously injured. Of course, it’s important to choose a dog that is cat-friendly in the first place.


As your veterinary hospital, we’re always here to help. Please feel free to call us anytime!

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