Cat to Dog Introductions

Did you know?

Cats or kittens that have had positive experiences with dogs will usually adjust more easily to a canine housemate!

Simple tips for cat to dog introductions

  • First, set your new cat or kitten up in one room (preferably where the litter tray is going to remain, e.g. the laundry), have a nice warm bed, fresh water, something to eat and a clean litter tray filled with litter.
  • Continually interact with your new pet so that it gets used to you. After the first 24 hours take a piece of bedding that the cat/kitten has slept on and give it to your dog to sniff. Also offer him something nice, like a treat, game or big cuddle so that he can start to associate this smell with all things good.
  • Take a piece of your dog’s bedding or something with your dogs smell on it and give it to your cat/kitten, again offer a small meal or some treats to your kitten/cat.
  • Remember to always spend more quality time with your dog at this time to minimise jealousy and the obsession with the room where your new cat/kitten is!
  • After a day or so you could set the laundry door ajar by chocking both sides of the door so it’s just open enough for the cat/kitten to smell and see the dog and vice-versa.
  • If you are at all concerned that your dog is not going to receive the cat/kitten favourably, always put your dog’s lead on him when he is going to be in the area of the cat/kitten.
  • If possible, have one family member in with the cat/kitten and one of you holding your dog on his lead. If your dog knows some basic manners (e.g. sit, drop, etc) this is a good time to ask your dog to be as calm as he can be! Use food rewards to make the whole experience as positive and GOOD for your dog as possible.
  • Enter the room that your cat/kitten is in, ask your dog to sit and then preferably drop if calm enough. Let the cat/kitten approach or retreat if needed and have the door shut to prevent the cat/kitten running away, but have control of your dog. If the cat/kitten doesn’t run, your dog is less likely to want to chase.
  • Never punish your dog or the cat/kitten. Always be rewarding the cat/kitten for bravery and the dog for being reasonably calm, especially when he looks away from the cat/kitten and is listening to you even if it’s only for a second.
  • Try to do this exercise approximately every 20-30 minutes for only short amounts of time, e.g. 5 minutes to give both the pets’ time to adjust and get over it.
  • You should find that each time you take your dog in to see the cat/kitten he is slightly less obsessed with the new arrival and perhaps is looking for his treats.
  • The cat/kitten will soon work out that this dog is becoming quite familiar.
  • Always make sure that your cat/kitten has access to hiding places and escape zones that your dog cannot access.
  • It is wise to have them confined to separate areas when you are unable to supervise.
  • Continue to spend lots of quality time with both your pets so that jealousy doesn’t become an issue.
  • Let your two pets set their own pace and ease into the relationship. Never force them together. A good outcome is that they both end up tolerating each other. Anything more than this is a bonus.
  • Remember they may take two to three months to actually reach an understanding, but usually you should see any potential dangers within the first month.