Tips for introducing cats to dogs, and dogs to cats – Part 2

I have had both cats and dogs for many years now, and as new animals have come along we have had to introduce young to old and adult to adult in many different variations. Depending on the animals themselves this can be easy or difficult, fast or slow.

It is always best to be cautious and start slowly. Prepare for the event ahead of time.

If your new pet is a cat or a puppy, you can bring it into the house in a crate. Leave it in the carrier while your current animal investigates. If things get to frisky, whisk the newbie into a quiet room and shut the door. Even if things remain calm, the new animal should be let out of his carrier in a separate room at first, with the door closed.

Have something in this room that carries the smell of your other animals, say a toy, or a blanket they have slept on. This gives the new pet a chance to check out the current one, even before they meet. For the animal, it’s kind of like reading someone’s diary!

Allow the other animals to sniff at the door for a while. Keep an eye or ear out, as you will want to watch out for one someone pawing at and damaging a door.

Once your pet has gotten used to the smell of the other animal, perhaps a little later in the day, you can move up to visual introductions. With some animals this step may not happen for a day or two.

Cats are pretty good at taking care of themselves in the presence of dogs. Lamps and other breakables are more at risk if the dog wants to chase, as the cat can usually hide under the furniture or on top of something out of reach. A cat will also not hesitate to give the interloper a good whack on the nose, which is often all they need to get the message! I have found more problems with cat-to-cat introductions than cat-to-dog.

When you are ready to move on to nose-to-nose introductions with the puppy, cat or kitten and your resident pets, put the newcomer back in her crate and open the safe-room door.

Let your pet in to investigate, and when he seems calm enough, open the crate and allow the new pet to exit on his own time. Do not try to hold either animal for the other’s “inspection”, this may cause jealousy and undue excitement (not to mention a few scratches for you!).

If things go well, you can usually allow nature to take its course at this point. Don’t leave the animals together without supervision until you are certain that there won’t be any problems.

It is quite possible for dogs and cats to live together in harmony, even bliss – at the very least mutual tolerance.

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