Introducing Cats to Dogs

Cat to dog introductions

When thinking about getting a cat in a household that already has a dog(s) take some time to consider what your existing dog will think about a new arrival.

Although film and cartoons have depicted cats and dogs to be rivals in reality they can actually become good companions once given the time to get used to each other.

Before getting a new cat in a house with either dogs, cats or both take some time to consider the personalities of all the animals and how they have reacted to other animals before. When looking through the cats at the centre consider looking for those who have lived with dogs before and have got on well rather than a cat that has never been used to other animals.

Introducing cats to new animals in the home is not a quick process and some cats can take months before settled with other pets. It is essential that the process is done slowly and persistently to avoid negative interactions which could result in the new cat never settling. It is essential when integrating animals to have a separate area in which to start the new arrival off in. This space should be away from other animals and not take away the existing dog/cats favourite spot.

First things first, scent swapping. Often this stage is rushed through but for animals that rely enormously on scent this is the most important stage of their introduction. This part of the process can even be started before the cat is taken home by bringing in a piece of bedding or cloth to leave with your new cat in the centre before taking them home.

Scent swapping between the cat and dog should continue until both pets simply sniff and walk away from the new scent, any negative reactions are a clear sign this part of the process needs to continue for longer. If multiple dogs/cats are in the household each scent must be introduced individually.

Before progressing to a face to face encounter between pets try allowing them to see one another without being able to touch. This could be done through glass or mesh doorway but ensure both can escape the situation when uncomfortable. When introducing the cats to other animals in a particular room allow the new cat to explore this room alone first.

Start by keeping the introductions nice and short and place the cat back in their safe zone after these meetings. Keep doing this until the cat and their new companions are happy in each other’s presence. Gradually increase the length of time of the visits until your pets are living together happily.

For more information on settling cats to dogs visit https://www.cats.org.uk/ncac/adopt-a-cat/introducing-cats-to-dogs