Introduction is key, space is mandatory and, a "my pets are fighting like cats & dogs" strategy will also come in handy. If you are introducing a cat into your doggy home, be prepared to have a safe space for your new feline friend to retreat to. A secluded room for kitty to spend his first few days is a great way for cat & dog to get used to each others scents.
If you are bringing a dog into your up til now cats only home, keeping pup leashed at all times is highly recommended. While this might sound like a tiresome task, the benefit is that you will be in constant control of your pup. Your resident cat will likely be indignant (to say the least) at a K9 interloper in his home. And, since dogs are hugely fond of chasing, the leashing technique will prevent nasty scuffles from happening.
- Provide hiding spaces for the cat, clear out underneath your bed or cut a cat size hole in a sturdy box
- Let Kitty decide how the relationship will evolve
- Invest in a cat tree or have some higher ground available for Kitty to evade your dog
- Keep an eye on your fur babies, it's never a good idea to let your pets "work it out"
- Place food and water in different rooms, elevating cat dishes is a great idea (dog = food ninja)
- Provide separate sleeping areas for each pet
- No playing favorites! Share your time and attention equally between your fur babies
- Keep your pooch by your side at all time during the "getting to know you" phase
- Discourage the chase game, dogs love to play chase. When Kitty runs away from Fido it's not usually to engage in play time (see above)
- Ensure both pets are safely confined with no access to each other when you are unable to supervise them
- If you are searching for a dog savvy cat or a cat savvy dog, check with your local rescues
- Get yourself a covered litter pan for 2 reasons:
To prevent Fido from eating poopalicious treats
With a little patience and a good game plan, chances are good that Kitty & Fido will learn to absolutely adore each other. Pictured to the right are my fur kids, Marley and Lacie. Now they are all about snuggles and are constant companions but, this was not always the case.
When Marley first moved into our home, he was completely overwhelmed by Lacie. He stayed hidden for most of the time. Lacie wanted to be buddies but Marley wasn't having any of it! With a lot of patience, some of the tips on the list above and, about 120 days or so, they started to form a bond based on love, affection and, trust.