The first thing to keep in mind when planning how to introduce a cat to a dog is to take your time and not rush the process. To ensure everything goes smoothly, prepare to go slow and give the animals time to get to know each other.
Introduce A Cat To A Dog: Prior planning
Before you go to get your cat, prepare their food, bedding, and litter tray in a secure room to put them in when you bring them home. When you first come home with your new cat, make sure your dog is not right behind the front door. They will likely be excited to see you and find out what is going on, so put them in another room with the door closed, or if possible, into a room that opens out to your yard. You do not want them jumping up and down and knocking the cat travel basket before you have even gotten in the door.
Time to settle in
Your cat will need to time to recover from the stress of the journey and the change of surroundings they have experienced. It is likely when you get them home they will be tired and scared, so before you think of how to introduce a cat to a dog, give your new furball time to recover and rest. Ideally, your cat needs at least two full days and nights in their new home to settle in before being introduced to your dog. That is why it is best to place your dog into a room next to your yard, so they can get out for exercise and to use the bathroom.
Whilst keeping your cat and dog separate, you should make them both aware that there is another animal in the house. Stroke your cat and then let your dog smell your hand and vice versa. Swapping scents is key when looking for a successful way of how to introduce a cat to a dog. Swap blankets or bedding that they sleep on once a day so that they can pick up and get used to each other’s scent.
Love at first sight
When you first introduce your dog to your cat you must put their leash on. Keep a hold of it but make it as slack as possible, whilst still having some control in case your dog does not react well. Keeping your dog’s leash on ensures your cat’s safety while allowing your dog some freedom to investigate their new furry friend. Let your dog sniff about to learn about their new companion.
It is quite normal for the cat to hit them on the nose with their paw, so do not react to your cat if they do this. It is their way of making sure there are no threats about. Your dog may not appreciate this however, so be ready on the leash to intervene in case they retaliate. Always remain calm throughout the whole process and do not raise your voice or make sudden and exaggerated movements.
If they both seem happy, let them continue to get to know each other. All the while keeping hold of the loose leash. From time to time call your dog to you and reward them with a tasty treat whenever they respond to your recall. After a few minutes, end this first introduction session and have some one-to-one time with your dog while another person gives your cat lots of attention in the other room. If it is just you around, go to your cat after a minute with your dog and give them lots of love and attention.
This process should be repeated two or three times a day for a minimum of three days. In time your dog and cat will get used to each other and you will gradually be able to let them interact without the need for a leash.