Introducing a New Cat/Dog To The Household
If you already have a pet, sometimes getting a friend for them is the right decision. Sometimes a pet seems to need a friend to play with and to help with being alone and bored. The thing we has humans need to realize is that it sometimes doesn’t go as smoothly as we want and we need time and patience before our fur babies can get along and bond with each other.
What we wish would just take hours, can take days, weeks or even months. Cats are very territorial and when bringing a new cat home, they are invading the existing cat’s space. Similarly, when bringing home a dog into a cat’s home, the dog will need to adjust to it being the cat’s home. Dogs are pack animals however, so it makes introductions easier for dogs, they don’t really feel the invasion as much as cats do. When introducing Sasha to Isis, we kept Sasha in a crate when they were in the same room (for a half hour at a time). Isis was able to climb the crate, look inside and stick her paw in between the bars so that she could touch and see Sasha, but Sasha couldn’t chase her or bite or sniff or growl. She quickly grew to tolerate Sasha, and it took about two weeks before the introduction time was over. We would feed Isis treats every time she was around Sasha, so that she associated Sasha with something wonderful (getting treats). We also gave Sasha treats for being such a good girl and allowing Isis adjustment time. They still have their days when Isis probably wishes she could flip the dog the finger, but for the most part they get along. I wish they would be able to play and snuggle, but I am thinking with time and patience, this may happen.
It can be a very stressful time for everyone, but try to not show your stress when they are not getting along or if the introductions don’t happen soon. Your mood will set the mood and length of time that it takes for your pets to acclimate. The calmer and more positive you are, the better the situation will go.
Also, have something with the dog’s scent on it and give it to the cat to sniff and do what they want with it. I had Sasha’s harness and threw it on the floor for Isis. She ended up rolling around on it and smelling it, so I took that as a good sign.
I took one of Isis blankets and gave it to Sasha to smell so that she would know the cat’s scent. When they first were able to sniff each other nose to nose, Sasha went down into a submissive bow position, so I knew that was a good sign. Also she sniffed Isis’ butt, which meant that the dog saw Isis as an equal and not as prey. (If she would have seen Isis as prey, she would have shown her teeth and growled and tried to bite or give chase. None of that happened and hasn’t happened, so I think we’re safe).
As always, I have two great articles to read on how to introduce cats to each other and how to introduce a dog to a cat. Both have similar approaches, one just takes the approach much slower. Both are great ways to introduce pets to each other.
Whichever you choose, I hope you have a safe and happy introduction. Remember, there will be hissing moments, but think positive and be calm, it will all work out in the end. Good luck! 🙂