Are you adopting a new dog? Congratulations on your furry new friend! Of course, if you have a cat, Fluffy probably won’t be as enthusiastic about your new pet as we are. First impressions are a very big deal to pets, so it’s important to handle introductions properly. Here, a vet discusses getting your four-legged friends started out on the right paw.
Before bringing Fido in, put your cat in a quiet back room with kitty essentials. After your pup has sniffed everything, let your kitty out, and put the dog in the quiet room. It’s now Fluffy’s turn to get used to the new scent. Keep switching back and forth. Pay lots of attention to your feline pal, so she doesn’t feel ignored or isolated.
After a few days of swapping places, your pets should be used to the idea that there’s another furball in town. At this point, you can officially introduce them. Don’t give them full access to each other just yet, though. Use a carrier or a baby gate to let them see and sniff each other through a barrier. Offer both pets treats and compliments to sweeten the deal. If this goes smoothly, proceed with caution. If not, separate them again and start over. Monitor all interactions carefully. Do not leave your dog and cat alone unsupervised until you’re sure they’re getting along.
You’ll need to make sure that your kitty has a place to go in every room. That way, she always has an escape if she feels frightened. This should be somewhere Fido can’t reach. Vertical spaces, such as cat towers, are great for this. (Your kitty will also gain a scratching post and napping spot out of the deal.) Your cat will also appreciate having some hiding spots behind or beneath chairs, sofas, and beds.
More often than not, dogs and cats do learn to cohabitate. Fluffy and Fido may become bffs. Or, they might just ignore each other. However, there are cases when cats and dogs fight like, well, cats and dogs. This can be a very dangerous situation. If they don’t warm up to each other, consult your vet or a professional trainer. Otherwise, if things don’t get better, one of your pets–most likely your kitty–could be seriously injured.
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