When bringing a new dog into a home with an existing cat, taking a few precautionary measures and a bit of preparation can mean the difference between a future of peaceful inter-species cohabitation and years of strife. Plopping the two down together and expecting them to work things out on their own seldom ends well.

Preparation

Prior to bringing your new dog home, designate a safe room (or rooms) as well as high places where the cat can access but the dog cannot reach. Utilizing baby gates and cat doors, plus clearing high surfaces are good ideas. It’s important that the cat can retreat to regroup and relax away from their new canine sibling and then venture forward into the dog’s territory at their own pace. The cat should have access to food, water, and litter in this area so no interactions with dogs are forced.

Next Steps

For the first introduction, have the dog on a leash. If it seems to be going well, you can take the leash off and supervise closely. If the dog is behaving in a friendly and/or cautious way, try to not intervene in their interactions, except to praise and reward the dog for good manners.

If any intense chasing ensues, interrupt and try to redirect the dog’s attention to another activity. This can be very difficult and in the future the dog may need to be leashed until a routine is worked out or until the house is divided into cat or dog sections for further work.

In the first few weeks observe the trend: Are things getting better or worse? Monitor interactions until there is a pattern or plateau in their relationship.

The dog should not have access to the cat’s litterbox or food bowls. It can be extremely stressful for the cat when the dog eats cat feces, kitty litter, or the cat’s food. These items should be places in the cat’s safe room or out of the dog’s reach.

Never force either animal into proximity with the other by holding or caging either, or otherwise restricting their desire to escape.

More Training and Behavior Tips

  • Thank You for Adopting a Dog from Joybound!

    Thank You for Adopting a Dog from Joybound!

    Congratulations on your new family member! Bringing a new dog into your home – and your life – is a big commitment with many benefits and joys. We are thrilled you have decided to take this step. Starting your relationship …

    Continue Reading

  • Introducing a New Dog to a Resident Cat

    Introducing a New Dog to a Resident Cat

    When bringing a new dog into a home with an existing cat, taking a few precautionary measures and a bit of preparation can mean the difference between a future of peaceful inter-species cohabitation and years of strife. Plopping the two …

    Continue Reading

  • Separation Anxiety Prevention

    Separation Anxiety Prevention

    Low-Key Departures and Arrivals During the 10-15 minutes before you leave the house, strive for a calm, neutral atmosphere. Avoid grand gestures of hugging, kissing, or petting with your dog.  If your dog has previously shown any signs of anxiety …

    Continue Reading

×