Introducing animals to each other for the first time can be a stressful experience, especially when they are different species. However, it is important to remember that you should never rush into it, and that a slow introduction that spans over a few days or a week can be the most beneficial way to go. This guide will take you through the things you can do to make the introduction process easier and smoother.
When you bring your puppy home, do not introduce them right away. Instead, make sure the cat and the dog are in separate parts of the home where they cannot leave and see each other. Separate rooms tend to work best with the door closed.
Of course, your cat needs to be able to roam, and your puppy needs to be able to explore their new home. The best way to manage this is by alternating which animal is confined. Let your cat out to roam for a few hours before putting it away and releasing the puppy.
This way, they can also get used to each other’s scents. A good way to keep them getting used to the smell of one another is to swap pieces of bedding between the rooms frequently.
Don’t let your puppy paw at the door for the room your cat is in too much. Excessive pawing can cause your cat stress. Distract the puppy with a toy or game as they should not be disciplined for the first two weeks to reinforce positive memories.
After a couple of days, you can start to slowly introduce them to each other. Make sure you do this inside your home, as an outdoor location can cause your cat stress. Make sure it is a large room in your home, and one with plenty of space for either one to retreat if they feel threatened.
Try and wear your puppy out a little before the introduction with games, as this can make them calmer for the meeting. You should also have the puppy on a lead so that you have full control of the situation.
It is normal for the cat to hiss and possibly bat the dog. Do not reprimand the cat as this is just fear. It can take a lot of time for a cat to get used to a puppy. If the cat becomes frightened, remove the puppy and leave the introduction for a few days more.
Over time, things will improve, and there will be no aggression from either animal. Good behaviour should be reinforced with praise and treats. The animals will be happy to spend time together in no time at all.
Leaving Them Alone
It should be noted that your cat and puppy should not be left unattended together at any point until they are completely comfortable around each other. Leaving them alone together while you go out can result in fights between the two animals that can lead to injuries being caused.
Try introducing a tall cat tree as a space for your cat to hide and a puppy play pen as a way to contain your puppy.
The process of introduction can be long, and it’s not always easy. The main thing to remember is to keep calm throughout and allow things to happen at their own speed. Never rush the introductory period, and never leave them alone together, not until they are completely comfortable with each other anyway. Your cat and puppy will be best friends in no time at all.