Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Resident Cat Meets New Puppy: A Painfree Introduction

So, you are about to take your puppy to its new home. It is usually a time of exploring and getting to know each other, but introducing a puppy into a home that’s already ruled by a cat makes it an entirely different situation.

Photo source: Pexels

The first couple of weeks could turn into a living nightmare for your pets unless you know what you’re doing - in case you don’t, make use of these tips to help you a bit along the way.

Separation

The beginning of this nature-defying cohabitation is all about separating the dog and cat from each other. It might mean that you keep your puppy on a leash or in a dog crate for some time; it is, after all, the cat that is the weaker one between the two of them.

The first couple of weeks should allow them to get used to each other through sounds and smells, without interacting too much. They should be separated so that they won’t be able to touch but still being aware that the other one is present - placing a blanket or a toy with your dog’s scent in the room your cat is kept, is a clever way to plant the first seeds of introduction.

After a while, switch rooms and allow enough time for them to feel safe and comfortable in the other’s area. This should go on for some time. Extend the period if it makes you feel more comfortable, and keep in mind that the only way you can prevent disaster between the two is to take your time and not to rush it.

Leash and Crate

When bringing your puppy home, make it a controlled experience from the beginning and keep him on a leash even as you walk into the living room for the first time. It sends a clear signal to the cat of the house and shows both of them that this isn’t a place where the dog can go crazy - this is a safe and controlled environment.


Photo source: Pexels

You shouldn’t keep your poor puppy in a crate the whole time, of course, but make sure you’re able to control him while the cat is around. Keeping the dog outside in a restricted area in the garden is a good idea, just remember to have treatment for flea and tick for dogs at hand - especially in the summer.

When your dog is able to be face-to-face with your cat but separated by a barrier, without barking or acting out, they are ready to be formally introduced. Reward any calm behavior with treats and discourage any unwanted behavior; if you have positioned yourself as the pack leader from the beginning, your dog will follow your signals.

Many pets live together in harmony. You might have seen them snuggle up together or simply pass each other by without even flicking an ear, and thought that dogs and cats must be the perfect companions. You’d be fooled to believe this harmony happens on its own; behind it lays weeks, or even months, of preparation and a patient owner’s persistent training.


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