Your Guide To Introducing Cats And Dogs to Each Other

by Catherine Sullivan last updated -

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Getting your cat and dog to be a perfect match requires consideration of their personalities. If you have a cat at home and you’re planning to have a dog (or vice versa), it might be a good idea to start looking for a cat/dog that has been exposed to other animals in the past because introducing cats and dogs to each other in a planned way is very important.

Cats are territorial by nature, and if they haven’t been exposed to other animals before, they might not be open to sharing their “territory” to a new part of your family, especially with dogs who are known to be the exact opposite of their personalities.

Dogs, on the other hand, are playful, friendly creatures. They love to get along with other animals that they may not acknowledge the territorial nature of cats, which could be disastrous if not.

But it’s not impossible to build friendship among them. It just takes more careful preparation and patience! Read on to discover the proper way to introduce your cat and dog to each other, and a few reminders to have your dog and cat get along well with each other!

Matching Personalities While Introducing Cats and Dogs

Basically, cats and dogs who almost have the same personality have the chance to get along well. If your cat is playful and/or sociable, she’ll get along fine with a playful, energetic dog. And if the cat is calm and laid back, a calm dog should be on your lookout agenda.

Preparing for the Introduction

Preparation is key to having a good introduction between your cat and dog. Don’t introduce your dog immediately to your cat, or your cat can get surprised and become aggressive.

Before bringing your new dog/cat home, make sure your cat is in a safe area where she can access her food, litter box, and play area while having a safe distance from your dog. You should also set a space where your cat can escape in case she gets scared by the dog. Same thing when bringing a new cat home.

After you’ve brought your new dog/cat home, it’s a good idea to introduce their scent slowly to each other so they’ll get accustomed to each other’s smell. Switch their beds, rub a cloth on their body and put it under their food bowls or switch toys at times. Do this frequently and they can easily recognize each other’s smell when they meet face-to-face!

You should also give them alternate playtime schedules. Let them explore and find each other while the other one’s tucked and secured in his/her own space.

It’s also a good idea to ensure your dog is well-trained so that he’ll listen to you whenever he reacts wildly in his first meeting with the cat.

Once your dog has gotten over his obsession with your cat, and your cat feels safe and acting like herself again, it’s time for the face-to-face introduction!

The Face-to-Face Introduction

When you introduce them to each other, make sure the dog is leashed so you can control him when he suddenly acts aggressively. Stay with them all the time while they’re being introduced to avoid any unwanted interactions between them, like scratching or chasing each other.

Do this for 10 minutes or less. Frequent short meetings are better than long ones, as your cat can get uncomfortable the longer she’s with the dog. Continue these short frequent introductions until you can see them comfortable with each other’s presence.

Unleash the Friendship!

When can I let my cat and dog meet with each other without supervision?

Simple. When the dog isn’t showing any obsession with your cat, and your feline friend can strut everywhere on your home without hiding or being jumpy.

The “when” depends on how long your pets can be accustomed to each other’s presence. Let them figure everything out at their own pace. If any of your new pets show signs of fear or aggression to each other, you might need to do the previous step longer.

A Few Reminders

#1: Study how your cat reacts with other animals too, especially with a dog.

If your cat seems to be aggressive towards a dog or keeps on hiding whenever it sees a canine, getting a new dog may not be a good idea for you. And if your dog shows questionable behavior when it sees a cat, try again with another cat, or accept the fact that it’s not born to live with cats.

#2: Don’t bring your cat to a shelter when looking for a dog to adopt.

Other dogs may react aggressively towards the cat, and that could be traumatic for it! Don’t bring your dogs with you in the shelter too, or you’ll scare all the cats there.

#3: To train your dog out from his obsession with your cat, distract him with toys or lead him away gently with his leash.

If it follows, give it a treat so it’ll get the idea that he/she’s doing the right thing! Do this every time it tries to catch your cat.

Cats and dogs can live in harmony together with the right supervision. 

Despite the idea from cartoons that cats and dogs are always at each other’s neck, these creatures are also capable of living with each other in peace. They can even be the best of friends if you train and supervise them!

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About the Author

Catherine Sullivan is an avid cat lover and owns a lovely ragdoll named Mimi. She shares her experiences as a cat owner on her personal blog, Cats.How.

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