View Full Version : Introducing a dog to a cat

GSD Lifeline
28th May 2009, 02:57 PM
Although dogs and cats are often portrayed as enemies, it is usually easier to introduce a new cat to a dog than to another cat.

While both animals may be wary of each other initially, they can actually get on very well. If your dog is used to cats, there may be initial excitement at having a new one in the house but that soon settles down as the novelty wears off quickly.

Although your dog will live happily with your cats, strange cats may still be chased out of the garden, so take care until the cat is seen as one of the household. Likewise if your new cat or kitten has previously lived with a dog, the cat will be likely to be confident around the dog more quickly.
However, initially safety must come first. Keep everything under control until the dog and cat have got used to one another. Stroke the dog and cat separately but without washing your hands to exchange their scents. The cat will then take on the smell of the home and become part of the dog’s pack. Once again, the large pen is ideal for first meetings to keep the situation calm and the cat protected.

Let the dog sniff the newcomer through the bars and get over the initial excitement. The cat may hiss and spit but he is well protected. Some dogs, especially those not used to cats or of an excitable disposition, need extra care for introductions.

They should be kept as calm as possible on the lead and made to sit quietly. The new cat should be given a safe position in the room, be allowed to get used to the dog, and approach only if the dog wants. This may take quite some time and requires patience.
Reward the dog for behaving well.

For quieter dogs or those used to cats, introductions can be made using a strong cat carrier. Keep the dog on a lead initially, place the carrier on a high surface and allow controlled introductions that are short and frequent. Most dogs will soon calm down when they realize the newcomer is not actually interesting. Progress to meetings with the dog on a lead initially, for safety. If your dog is rather excitable then take him for a vigorous walk first to get rid of some energy!

Breeds such as terriers or those that like to chase, such as greyhounds, may need to be kept well under control until they have learned that the cat is not to be chased.

Young pups are likely to get very excited and may try to play with the new cat, which is unlikely to want to join in! You may need to work hard to keep things calm and be aware that a sudden dash from the cat will induce a chase.

Praise the dog for calm interactions, and use food treats to reward the dog for good behavior. Again, associate the presence of the cat with reward for calm behavior. When you progress to access without the lead, make sure there are places where the cat can escape to – high ledges or furniture the cat can use to feel safe. Never leave the dog and cat together unattended until you are happy that they are safe together.

The cat’s food will be hugely tempting for any dog, so site it up and out of the way of your dog. Likewise a litter tray can be pretty tempting and should be kept out of the dog’s reach.