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How to Introduce Your New Dog to Your Resident Cat

How to Introduce Your New Dog to Your Resident Cat

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

You’ve just brought home a new furry friend, and now it’s time to introduce them to your resident cat. Believe me, I know the excitement – I’ve been there! When I first brought Endora, my newest foster pup, into my home, I was eager to have her meet my two resident cats. But as any seasoned pet owner knows, slow and steady is the way to go when it comes to these delicate introductions.

As a volunteer at the Chicago Animal Care & Control, I’ve learned a thing or two about easing new dogs and cats into each other’s lives. And let me tell you, it’s not as simple as just letting them loose in the same room and hoping for the best. No, no, no – that’s a recipe for disaster (and potentially some very stressed-out pets).

The folks over at Rescue in Style really hit the nail on the head when they said, “Whatever you think slow means, take it slower than that.” Truer words have never been spoken when it comes to introducing a new dog to your resident cat.

Set the Stage for Success

Alright, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how to make this introduction a smooth and stress-free experience for everyone involved. First and foremost, you’ll want to keep the dog and cat separated for at least the first two days. Yes, I know – it’s tempting to just throw them together and see what happens. But trust me, that’s a recipe for disaster.

During this initial separation period, you’ll want to start getting them used to each other’s scents. As the Animal Humane Society recommends, feed them on opposite sides of a door so they can smell and hear each other while associated with something positive (food!). This helps them build a positive association with each other’s presence.

You can also try confining the dog to one room while letting the cat explore the dog’s space, and vice versa. Reward the pets with treats and praise while they’re checking out each other’s territory. This way, they start to learn that the other’s presence isn’t something to be feared, but something that’s actually quite pleasant.

Take It Slow and Steady

Once you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time for the first face-to-face introduction. And remember, slow and steady is the name of the game here. American Humane suggests keeping the dog on a leash and letting the cat come and go as they please during these initial meetings. That way, you can quickly intervene if things start to get tense.

During the introduction, ask the dog to sit and reward them with tasty treats for staying calm and focused on you. Give the cat treats too, so they associate the other pet’s presence with good things. If either pet starts to show signs of stress or aggression, calmly redirect their attention and end the session. Slow and steady, remember?

Patience is a Virtue (and a Necessity)

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “But how long is this going to take?” And the honest answer is: it depends. As one Redditor shared, it could take months for your dog to become completely desensitized to your cat. But hey, think of it this way – you’re building a solid foundation for a lifelong friendship. Isn’t that worth a little extra time and effort?

Remember, every pet is different, and your cat and dog may take to each other at different paces. The key is to remain patient, keep the introductions short and positive, and never force the issue. With time, and a whole lot of treats, your new pup and resident feline should be well on their way to becoming the best of friends.

And who knows, maybe they’ll even start coordinating their outfits like the fashionable pups and kitties over at A pet parent can dream, right?

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