How to Introduce a Cat to a Dog (Without them Fighting)!

So you’ve got a new cat and can’t wait to bring them home, right? Well, there’s just one problem; your dog. Here’s how to introduce a cat to a dog.

how to introduce a cat to a dog
Katlene Niven / Flickr

If you’re an animal lover, you may want as many pets as you can physically have. There’s a few issues with that, though. You see, not all animals get on. Not by any means. In fact, there’s some truth in that old saying; “fighting like cats and dogs”. If you’re hoping to introduce these two creatures, you’ve thankfully come to the right place. Here’s how to introduce a cat to a dog without them getting upset, anxious, or, indeed, fighting!

Hint: Things you should consider first!

Before you even think about getting another pet, there are a couple of things that you honestly need to consider. First of all, you need to be absolutely certain that you have room for both a cat and dog in your home. If you have a small living space, take the time to really think about how things will pan out. Where will the animals sleep? Will they have their own space in the home? If the answer is no, you may want to reconsider getting an extra pet after all. As sad as it may be, the truth of the matter is that both of your pets’ welfare is the most important thing here.

The second, an equally important thing you should think about is what personality your original pet has. For example, if you already have a pup, are they shy or nervous? Are they angry and aggressive? If you already have a cat, do they like their own space? Before you consider how to introduce a cat to a dog, you need to think about how the animals themselves will react. You know your pets better than anyone else, and so you’re best qualified to answer these burning questions.

Separate the animals for a few days

When you first bring the cat or dog home, you will need to separate them from the other animal. There is just no sense in rocking the boat too soon. Trust us, doing so will lead to disaster and it’s the last thing that you actually need. Instead, you should separate the two animals for just a few days. Keep them in separate rooms and rotate them now and then. That way, they will get used to the scent of one another without actually meeting! That means that when they do come face to face, it won’t be such a massive shock.

Remember, scent is highly important to animals; it’s how they get to know one another. Exposing them to one another’s scent in this simple and straightforward way should make all the difference and mean that the two of them feel comfortable on the initial meeting. The best case scenario is that they both get comfortable with the smell of one another, and so the fear factor goes away. Simple.

Keep your pets on leashes!

Okay, when the actual introduction happens, you should keep both animals on a leash. Doing so means that you have 100% control over the situation. Remember, you have no idea how each of the animals will react here. There’s likely to be a whole load of fear and worry. One (or even both!) of your pets is likely to panic. The fact that you have a hold of them means that they can’t attack or run after one another. Instead, you can keep them at an arm’s length away from each other. That distance should give both of them the space to survey one another without being too threatened.

When it comes to how to introduce a cat to a dog, you need to remember, that these two animals are territorial. Neither one will one to give up their power. Your resident pet may feel highly threatened by the introduction of a new animal. For that reason alone, you can expect a whole load of trouble. Patience is key. The calmer and more patient you are, the smoother this whole thing will be.

Watch out for the telltale signs

You will likely have to have a fair few ‘leashed’ interactions between these two animals before they can be off the leash together. Be as patient as you can. What you need to do is look for the signs that they are happy with one another before you allow them off the leads. So, what are the things that you need to watch out for?

Well, one of the main signs that the two are content in one another’s company is that they appear relaxed. Rather than being on edge or looking stressed, your animals may sit down and chill out a little. If you see them looking away from one another, it means that they are no longer threatened in a serious way. (Because, as we know, animals focus on those who they feel threaten them!) When your pets can sit in the same room without hissing, growling, or staring intently at one another, they might be ready to be let off the lead!

Warning: If your animals appear anxious, stressed, or indeed aggressive, you should not leave them alone together. These pets are prone to fighting and that’s something you want to avoid at all costs.

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