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CAT CARE > Cat Behavior > Meow Meets: Introducing Cats to Dogs

Meow Meets: Introducing Cats to Dogs

Introducing a New Feline to Your Canine

Dogs and cats, living together.

Bringing a new kitty into your home is a great thing. You’re saving a life (you adopted, right?), and you’re filling your home with even more love. But how do you make sure that Fluffy and Fido will tolerate each other — let alone become best buddies?

Give Kitty her own space.

Remember that when you first bring a new cat home, she won’t just be acclimating to a dog — she’ll be acclimating to a whole new home. Unless she’s a very confident critter, she’s likely to be a little freaked out. So enclosing her in a quiet bedroom or bathroom with food, water, toys and a bed for a few days is a good idea. Make sure to visit her often and give her lots of loving attention.

Swapping scents.

This part of the process is the same as introducing a cat to another cat. Give the dog a soft blankie the cat has been sleeping on and vice versa. That lets your furry companions get to know each other through smells. Take at least a day to do this.

Make the first introduction a quick one.

When it’s time for the big reveal, first make sure you have the dog on a leash. If the dog chases the cat, he’ll likely continue in that behavior and the cat will be afraid of your doggo. Worse, if the dog catches the cat, he could do serious injury — even if he just meant to play. Keep Fido on a short leash and let Kitty sniff and walk around the dog, but only for about 10 minutes. Ask Fido to sit and reward him with a tasty treat for calm behavior. Then it’s best to either crate Fido or put Kitty in a bedroom or other safe space. Keep repeating the process every day, increasing the time as the animals get calmer around each other.

Not around? Use the crate.

You can’t supervise your animals all the time. Otherwise, how would you keep them in Fresh Step® litter? Until you’re absolutely sure the animals are comfortable around each other, make sure you either crate the dog or put the cat in her safe space when you’re not there.  

It’s Jazzercise time!

One key to making sure your cat and dog are calm around each other are to make sure they’re properly exercised. Take Fido on long walks and let him run around, so he’ll be less apt to take his energy out on Kitty. Give Kitty lots of toys and playtime, to make sure she’s more up for snuggles than swats.

Is it time to call in a professional?

If you’ve followed all these steps and Fido and Kitty can’t seem to see eye-to-eye, it may be time to call an animal behaviorist. This person will give you strategies and methods to help the animals bond instead of brawl.

Help you and your cat live your best lives.

Rewards and fun distractions are key to making sure cats and dogs can live together in harmony. Join the Paw Points® Rewards program, and start earning points for buying your cat’s favorite litter. Redeem those points for engaging, fun toys that will help Kitty feel comfortable and happy in her new home.

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