Are you a dog person? Maybe a cat person? What happens if you want the best of both worlds? It is a valid worry that dogs might be aggressive to a cat in the house or that the cat might be afraid around dogs.
The best news is that it is possible for cats and dogs to live together in the same household. With the right introductions, your cat will be properly accepted by the dogs as the newest member of the family. Here are some effective tips for introducing a cat into a dog family!
CONSIDER YOUR DOG’S BREED
Some breeds are friendlier to felines and other animals. If you have a golden retriever, a maltese or a pug, there is a higher chance that they will accept a cat in the family. There are more breeds that are cat-friendly.
Some breeds are more on the offensive side with a high prey drive — attacking anything on sight. Trying to introduce a cat to a husky, a bullmastiff, a greyhound or the like can end in a disaster.
INTRODUCE THEM GRADUALLY
You want to enable your pets to get to know each other slowly and gradually. You don’t want to leave your cat in a new environment with dogs that can potentially harm your cat. Usually, cats and dogs are introduced in two separate rooms with food, water and other necessities. Feed them both on either side of the door so they can learn to associate with each other.
After a few days, you can slightly open the door so that they can both see each other. Eventually, when they are both comfortable, you can fully open the door so they can make contact the first time.
It is also advisable to have the dog on a leash during its first meetings with a cat. Have some treats ready to keep them calm and happy. Start with short meetings to longer ones and, finally, meetings without a leash or even accompaniment.
LET THE CAT EXPLORE THE HOUSE
When your cat is more comfortable now, let them explore the house alone without any interference from your dog. This is a very important time for cats as this will provide them more comfort to live in the house. When this happens, try to confine your dogs where your cat was first kept in so that they can grow accustomed to the cat’s scent as well.
TRAIN YOUR DOG
Dogs can easily injure or kill a cat without proper training. You will need to train the dog not to chase the cat or play with the cat in a rough manner. It is also advisable to be aware to train the dog with positive reinforcement in the presence of the cat. It is not advised to give negative reinforcement to the dog whenever they commit a mistake as they can associate the cat to bad experiences and become aggressive.
Introduce your cat to your dogs slowly and surely and pay close attention to their behavior at all times.