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Cats and Dogs

How to Introduce a Dog to a Cat

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog

small dark colored dog with a Siamese cat

“Fighting like cats and dogs” isn’t a phrase that just happened into existence. If you’ve ever crossed a high prey-drive dog with a reactive cat, you likely know just how difficult it can be for dogs and cats to live in harmony. But just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In fact, with a little bit of planning and preparing, introducing your canine and feline slowly and carefully can be the precursor to a long, happy relationship.

If you’re itching to add one or the other to your home, but you’re not sure how to go about it, we’ve got you covered!

How to Introduce a Dog to a Cat

Plan ahead

Introducing a dog and a cat should never be a spur-of-the-moment event. It requires careful planning, and you’ll want to do it at a time when you won’t feel rushed or emotional. Ask a friend or family member to help you, so there is at least one human for each animal.

Take it slow

If possible, it’s ideal to keep your pets separated at first. You’ll want to give your new pet (whether it’s the dog or the cat) a few days to settle into their new environment, and in the meantime, your existing pet will begin to sense the new pet’s presence. It’s important to give each pet their own space, even after the initial introduction, until they are fully acclimated to each other.

The first introduction

During the first introduction, make sure to have your dog on a leash and have someone available to handle your cat just in case the situation gets out of hand. The first interaction should be brief and positive. Allow your cat to check out your dog and come as close as he or she feels comfortable. Offer plenty of treats and/or praise if the situation is going well, so each pet will associate the other’s presence with positivity.

Subsequent interactions

Continue to keep your pets separate and initiate more interactions, extending the duration each time. After a while, your pets will become more comfortable with each other and eventually, you won’t need to supervise or separate them at all.

If nerves or stress are a factor for either the cat or the dog, a calming supplement can be helpful. These soft chews are formulated with key nutrients and herbal extracts known for their calming properties.

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