Introducing a Dog to a Cat: How to Do This The Right Way - Vetstreet

Owners must keep in mind that even the smallest dog is capable of hurting a feline, so give the cat a safe place to go if it feels threatened and wants to get away from the new dog. An owner may want to set aside one room just for the cat. Put the cat's food and water bowls in the room along with its litter box. Another tip is to keep the new canine on a leash when introducing it to the cat. That way, the owner has control as the two pets slowly get accustomed to one another.

How to introduce your new dog to the cat you already have so they start out on the right foot.

Way back when, tiny eight week old Gremmi (“His Grey Eminence”) was introduced to 2 adult dogs and one adult cat in my household. I was doing the appropriate things with the dogs – but not with the established cat. For some reason, it never crossed my mind that the adult cat could possibly be afraid of the small, new kitten. So, before I even realized that there was a problem, she had moved out and became an outdoor cat who would only come in at night to eat. That was very sad.

Introducing Your New Dog to Your Resident Cat

So what should pet parents do to maintain dog safety when they are introducing cat to dog? After a while of this controlled introduction, release your dog with leash still attached and let them come together. It is some dogs’ natural instinct to chase, so be prepared to grab the dragging leash and stop the chasing if it becomes intense. Be warned! Your cat may go on the offensive. Be prepared to protect your dog’s eyes or nose from scratches. Often though you will find that a dog will become fearful of a cat once the cat asserts himself and a healthy respect can exist between the two. Allow your cat to assert himself and carefully watch how the dog reacts. Some dogs will attack back if attacked/hissed at so be very prepared to intervene should that happen.

Introducing a New Cat to a Resident Dog - Tree House Humane Society

You may want to keep your dog on-leash and with you whenever your cat is free in the house during the introduction process. Be sure that your cat has an escape route and a place to hide. Keep your dog and cat separated when you aren't home until you're certain your cat will be safe.

Introducing a New Cat to a Resident Dog


To prevent bringing home disease with your new cat make sure your resident cat is vaccinated. Vaccinate and check the newcomer for feline leukemia, upper respiratory infections and parasites. Ask your veterinarian for further advice about the prevention of disease transmission.

Health isn't a major concern with dogs since few diseases can be passed between cats and dogs. Still, have your newcomer's health checked by your veterinarian before bringing him home.

Put the cat's litterbox in an area where your new dog can't get into it. Keep the cat's food out of the dog's reach, too. Cats and dogs have very different dietary needs and they should not be allowed to share food or they risk getting sick.

Before bringing your new pet home, give your resident cat a crash course in housetraining. Even if there have been no mistakes in the house for years, the introduction of a stranger may cause a temporary breakdown. If you're bringing home another cat, buy a couple of extra litterboxes. They can be extremely private property to a cat and a new cat can be leery about using another cat's box. Once the cats become friends, they will probably share their boxes with no problem.

It is especially important to prepare your cat for the arrival of a newcomer in other ways too. Spend lots of time concentrating on, rewarding and praising her good behavior. When the new pet arrives, most owners make such a big fuss over the newcomer that the resident cat feels neglected and ignored. You should be doing just the opposite. Most of your attention should be given to your resident cat. She's the one who is going to feel that her territory is being invaded. She may react by urine marking, acting aggressive or being destructive. Some cats get so upset over a newcomer that they pack their bags and leave, and may never come back. Make absolutely sure that your cat feels secure with you and her home territory before, during and after the newcomer's arrival. But the real world is a different story, animal behaviorists say. Whether you’re introducing a new cat to a dog, or vice versa, it’s worth remembering that cats are from Mars, dogs are from Venus.