After welcoming a pet into your home, it can be hard to resist getting another one after seeing how happy it makes the entire family. Instead of sticking to the same animal, it can be exciting to bring a different breed into your home. When this is the case, it’s important to consider how to have your two furry friends meet and get adjusted to one another.
Heidi Ganahl, CEO and Founder of Camp Bow Wow, the nation’s largest pet care franchise, has created a series of “Tips for Combined Pet Owners: Introducing Cat to Dog & Vice Versa.”
1. Pick the Right Personality - Always consider the personalities of the animals you are bringing into the home. For example, if you have a dog who likes to chase, you will want a cat that doesn’t run away in fear or to be playful.
2. For the first week or so, keep the dog and cat separated. You can switch between confining one to a certain room or area for a couple of days and then switch which one is confined. This will give them each time to get to know each other’s smells and become familiar with them.
3. Don’t leave the animals together by themselves until everyone has settled into having new friends in the house. You want to be able to keep an eye on them, so lock them in separate areas when you are out of the house.
4. Keep the dog on a leash so it can’t chase the cat and allow them to be in the same room together. Allow the dog to see the cat moving around and watch the dog to make sure it doesn’t try to chase the cat and that it isn’t too fixated on what the cat is doing. You can also feed the dog some treats when the cat is around to have them build up a positive association with the kitty.
5. Practice obedience with your dog. You can then use obedience commands to help keep your dog calm and focused when the cat is around.
6. Make sure the cat has a place to jump up to if they need to. You always want to make sure that your kitty has a safe place to get away from the dog in case they dog does start to chase them.