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Are you bringing a new dog into your life? Congratulations! We’re always thrilled to see pups going into loving homes. Of course, if you have a cat, your feline pal probably won’t be quite as enthusiastic as we are. First impressions are a very big deal to pets! It’s really important for you to handle introductions properly. Here, a vet discusses getting Fido and Fluffy started out on the right paw.
Before bringing Fido into the house, put Fluffy in a quiet back room with kitty essentials. Let your pup sniff everything and settle in a bit. When it’s time for him to go for a walk, let your cat out, and put Fido in the quiet room. It’s now her turn to get used to the new scent. Keep switching back and forth. Pay lots of attention to your feline buddy, so she doesn’t feel ignored or isolated.
After a few days of swapping places, your pets should have accepted the idea that there’s another furball in town. At this point, you can let them officially meet. Use a carrier or a puppy gate to let them see and sniff each other through a barrier. Offer both pets treats and praise to help sweeten the deal. Don’t give them full access to each other just yet, though. If all goes smoothly, proceed with caution. If not, start over. Monitor all interactions carefully, and don’t leave your pets alone unsupervised until you’re sure they’re getting along.
Make sure Fluffy has a place to go in every room. That way, she always has an escape if she feels scared or threatened. Vertical spaces, like cat towers, work great for this. (Your kitty will also get 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.
In many cases, dogs and cats do learn to cohabitate, and eventually manage to get along just fine. Who knows? Fluffy and Fido may become bffs. Or, they may just ignore each other. However, there are times when cats and dogs fight like, well, cats and dogs. This can be a very dangerous situation. If your pets don’t warm up to each other, reach out to your vet or a professional trainer. Otherwise, if things don’t go well, one of your pets–most likely your kitty–could be seriously injured.
As your veterinary hospital, we’re always here to help. Please feel free to call us anytime!