So you’ve decided it’s time to add a canine to your human, feline family….. good luck!
Before you make the big step of bringing a new dog home consider these questions first
Be sure that this is the right choice for your feline friend too. After all they were there first. Does your cat have the right temperament? Is he / she chilled out or hell on wheels. Adding a dog friend to the house might be exciting for you but it could be ultimately too stressful for your cat.
You know your cat best who do you think they would swipe right for on Tinder? If your cat is much older, perhaps a young pup will be too much energy? If kitty is a little shy, a rambunctious pup or large energetic dog just won’t work.
INTRODUCING A NEW PUPPY TO YOUR CAT TAKES PATIENCE.
"It was love at first site for our puppy Willie with cat Diego, but puss didn't always feel the same."
When it works a house of cats and dogs can one of the most adorable places to be. Our house consists of two Abyssinian male cats with very big and very different personalities.
Diego our older cat is a lover, very human focused very chilled out and always up for a cuddle. We had no worries there but, Cowboy our younger cat is an asshole! This guy couldn’t care less about us humans unless food is involved, he’s the wild one, the hunter the escape artist, we always knew he was going to be tough to convince that a new pup was a good idea
A few years on and Willie our English Toy Terrier pup can now be caught snuggling with Cowboy the cat daily….. Success!
Preparation is the key, firstly make sure you’ve chosen a dog that will suit your cats personality. Prep your house, be sure you have an area ready to separate your dog from the cat, preferably another room. Move all the cats food bowls or litter trays to somewhere the dog can’t get to.
When you first bring your dog or puppy home don’t be in a rush to introduce them to your cat. The dog should be placed in another room and the cat allowed to get used to their smell + vice versa. You can swap them around also, putting the cat in the room while your dog gets to explore the house. We did this for a full day and night.
Animals pick up on our vibes so make sure everyone is in a good relaxed mood before their first face to face. Everyone should be relaxed, perhaps take your dog for a long walk first. Make sure they are pre fed! A hangry cat is a weapon! Play with your cat and have some bonding time before the introduction also. Make sure puss knows they are still important.
Make sure your cat has plenty of space they will need plenty of potential escape routes to feel safe and relaxed. Your dog should also be leashed when first meeting in person. Don’t try to get your dog to look at the cat, it’s best to act natural and ignore the whole situation. Don’t make a big deal and they won’t get over excited. A good idea is also to crate the dog so they can get used to seeing each other in an unthreatening way.
Have treats ready to reward positive behaviour from your new dog. Treat your dog for remaining relaxed and calm. Positively and calmly praise them. You should also sharing the love with puss making sure they don’t feel left out. We also gave the cat treats for ignoring the dog. Be sure your dog understands commands like leave, come and NO! Before letting them off leash or out of the crate.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Keep the first interactions positive, fun and short! Give your cat a break from the dog and slowly introduce more and more together time each day. Never leave your dog and cat unsupervised in the early days. (We once found Willie pup cowering in the corner in a pool of his own puppy wee’s while Cowboy stood above him licking his paws…. Lesson learnt – Cat is king)
Dogs are pack animals and need to know where they fit in your pack. Unless you want your dog to rule the house (Bad plan – you’re the boss! Well actually the cat is the boss, we all know that) you need to be sure the dog knows the order of things. You’re the boss, then the cat then the dog.
To achieve this puss always needs to come first. We always feed the cats before the dog. He must sit and wait while they have there’s until he is feed. We make sure the dog doesn’t push the cat out the way for attention. The cat within reason is allowed to stand up to the dog and tell him when enough is enough, however the dog is never ever allowed to show teeth or bark at the cat. The cat is king and the dog must always be submissive to the cat.
Our dog Willie is a terrier breed with a high natural prey drive. Once your pets have gotten used to each and roam freely around the house together they are bound to start to play with one another.
You need to be sure to monitor this in the early days to ensure bad behaviours don’t develop. NEVER let your dog chase the cat! Dog’s with prey drive can get over excited with cats, a game of chase and corner the cat can end in bloody noses or worse a very timid cat.
Look for warning signs that play is getting too rough. Willie and our cat Cowboy love to wrestle and are a similar size, but when puss has had enough sometimes Willie doesn’t read the signs. You need to monitor this play and look out for warning signs, if your not sure break it up in a calm manner and direct their attention elsewhere.
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Most of all remember to give everyone equal amounts of love! A happy fur house is a calm loving one where each pet has space and their needs are meet.
If you’ve got any great advice we’ve missed or funny cat & dog family stories, tell us below.