Are you adopting a new dog? Congratulations! We love meeting new patients. Of course, if you have a cat, your kitty probably won’t be as enthusiastic about the situation as we are. First impressions are a very big deal to both dogs and cats, so it’s important to handle introductions properly. Here, a vet discusses getting Fido and Fluffy started out on the right paw.
Before bringing Fido in, put Fluffy in a quiet back room with kitty essentials,like food, toys, and, of course, a litterbox. After your pup has sniffed everything, and is ready for a walk, and let your cat out, and put your canine pal in the quiet room. It’s now her turn to get used to the new scent. Keep switching back and forth.
After a few days of swapping places, your pets should have accepted the idea that there’s another furball in town. At this point, you can let them officially meet. Don’t give them full access to each other just yet, though. Use a carrier or a puppy gate to let them see and sniff each other. Offer both pets treats and praise if things go well. If all goes smoothly, proceed with caution. Don’t leave them alone unsupervised until you’re sure they’re getting along well. This could take weeks or even months.
Make sure that your cat has a hiding spot to retreat to in every room. That way, she always has an escape if she feels scared or threatened. This should be somewhere Fido can’t reach. Vertical spaces, such as cat towers, work great for this. (Fluffy will also gain a scratching post and napping spot out of the deal.) Your kitty will also appreciate having some hiding spots behind or beneath chairs, sofas, and beds.
Dogs and cats can and do learn to cohabitate, and they often do just fine. Fluffy and Fido may become bffs. Or, they may just ignore each other. However, there are times when cats and dogs fight like, well, cats and dogs. This can be a very dangerous situation. If your pets don’t warm up to each other, consult your vet or a professional trainer and keep them separated. Otherwise, one of your pets–most likely your kitty–could be seriously injured. Consider the background, temperaments, and breeds of both pets, and ask your vet for specific advice.
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