Dogs and cats, the age old rivalry that we’ve seen play out in movies and cartoons for years. But what about real life? Surely they can get along, right? Of course they can! Granted, just like with anything else, it will take time in order to introduce a dog and a cat together. Unfortunately, you cannot just throw them in a room together and hope for the best. Likewise, when there is friction between the two, you cannot just let them sort it out. As a responsible pet parent,it is up to you to conduct safe introductions between your dog and cat.
When starting the introductions, it is important to consider where you are doing them. If you are bringing a cat home to a dog that you already have, it’s important to know how your dog will react to a cat. If possible, find a friend that has a cat that is ok with dogs and see how your dog reacts with them. If you are introducing a dog to a cat you already have, it’s best to just do the introductions at home.
The best way to do introductions for a dog and cat is similar to introducing two cats together. Place an each animal in separate rooms. Let them smell each other, examine the door, and generally get to know the sounds and smells of the other animal. Over the course of a few days, switch who is in each room to allow them both time to acclimate to each others smells and areas. Do this repeatedly. Once both are calm and acting naturally, you can try leashed introductions.
For a leashed introduction, it’s important to let the cat move around without restrictions, but the dog must remain on a leash the entire time. You can continue this step until both the dog and cat seem comfortable with each other. Once they do, you may try supervised free time for both the dog and the cat. If things seem ok, then you have successfully introduced a dog and a cat! If not, however, make sure to go back to the separation and continue working from there.
What To Watch For
There are, of course, things to watch for. If your dog is staring at the door, digging, growling or barking, there may be an issue, and either your dog is not ready for a cat, or if you are introducing the dog, it may not be the right fit for your family. Likewise, when doing leashed introductions, if your dog lunges at the cat, you may need to take a step back to the separation.
The dog and cat
Keep an eye on the cat as well. If the cat shows any signs of back arching, hissing or any defensive actions, it may be too early for introductions and you have to go back to the seperations.
Cats vs Dogs
Despite what cartoons may lead you to believe, cats and dogs can get along just fine. It takes time, it takes patience, and it takes a good plan, but ultimately, your cat and dog can get along like best of friends.