Introducing Cat To New Dog
When introducing your cat to your new dog, it is important to prepare beforehand. If you are adopting, many rescue groups will be able to tell you if a dog has lived with or been around cats. The younger your cat and your new dog are, the easier it will be for them to form a healthy relationship.
Tips for Introducing a Cat to a New Dog:
- Introduce the two as slowly as possible. Keep your new dog in a safe room where he can get used to your cat’s presence. All introductions should happen with your dog on leash.
- Let your cat adjust slowly to your new dog’s presence. Never force your cat to get closer than she is comfortable with.
- Make sure your cat’s nails are trimmed before initial introductions—those sharp claws can seriously injure a dog!
- Do not be surprised if your new dog wants to play with your cat or try to chase him. These are normal behaviors, but must be interrupted immediately by consistently removing the dog from the room if he gets overstimulated and tries to chase.
- Try to minimize changes to your cat’s environment to keep the introductions as stress-free as possible. Give your cat a safe space to run and hide, and keep her litter box and food on a high surface out of the dog’s reach.
- Never yell at your dog or use physical punishment for any behaviors towards the cat that you dislike. Focus on rewarding good interactions and removing your dog if he gets overstimulated.
- Never leave a cat and a dog alone together unsupervised to begin with until you are sure they accept one another and do not pose a threat.
- If your dog shows serious aggression towards your cat and you are fearful for your cat’s safety, consult a professional immediately and separate them at all times. You might have to consider rehoming one or the other, but this is a last resort and should be considered only if both animals are stressed in the other’s presence, or a life is at risk.
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