Welcoming a new cat or dog into your home is always a joyful experience. That moment when your new pet finally relaxes inside your home is endlessly rewarding.
However, not everyone inside your home may be thrilled about the new arrangement. If you already have a cat, they may not be thrilled to welcome a new dog. The inverse could be true as well.
It’s up to you to teach your pets how to get along. Previously, we discussed how to introduce puppies and kittens to one another. This time around, let’s focus on adult cats and dogs.
Do Not Rush the Interactions
The temptation to introduce your cat and dog to one another immediately will likely be there. Do not give in to it. They may have adverse reactions to one another if the introductions happen too early.
The shock of seeing a new cat/dog may overwhelm your pet. They may jump right into territorial mode due to the unfamiliar presence they detected.
What you want to do instead is to give both of your pets some time to get used to one another. Face-to-face interactions aren’t necessary for that. The smell of the other pet is enough to let them know that they’re not alone.
After a few days, your pets should be fully aware of each other’s presence. It may be time to set up an introduction.
Use Food to Facilitate the Introductions
Feeding your cat and dog at the same time can help them get used to one another. They may even associate the presence of the other to the availability of food.
All that said, allowing your cat and dog to eat side by side right away is still not recommended. Your dog may go after your cat’s food and vice versa.
A dog eating cat food occasionally is not a life-threatening issue, according to the American Kennel Club. The same goes in the opposite direction.
You shouldn’t worry about mixing food. What you’re really worried about here is the possibility that your two pets may fight over food.
Go ahead and let them see each other while eating but keep a barrier between them. A baby gate can work really well here.
Continue with the separate but together feeding until such time that your pets start to get comfortable around each other.
Start the Face-to-Face Interactions
Face-to-face interactions can begin once your pets start to become more comfortable. As a precautionary measure, keep your dog on a leash. That will help you stay in control of the interaction even if something unexpected happens.
Issue commands to your dog to keep them calm. Also keep an eye on your cat and stop them from attacking unprovoked.
You can cut the introductions short if either your cat or dog shows aggression. Try again later and see how the interaction turns out then. Hopefully, your pets will at least be able to stay calm after their gradual introduction.
Continue the monitored face-to-face meetings until they become completely comfortable in each other’s company.
Reaching the point where your cat and dog can feel at ease next to each other can be a long and arduous process. Stick with it though because a household with a happy cat and dog is a joy to experience on a daily basis.
Leaving your cat and dog at home if they’re still not used to one another can be risky. Avoid potential mishaps by hiring us at TAILored Pet Services to serve as your sitter. Learn more about the services by browsing our website.