Introducing the new cat to the resident dog! Who’s the boss now?
Marty, the new kitty in the Joy of Living family: Did you know that in 2002, a survey was conducted that revealed over 15% of every US household had one dog or one cat, at the least? In fact, almost 50% of homes surveyed had both a cat and a dog in residence. In other words, that suggests that dogs and cats have been living well together.
As the new cat around here, I just wanted to share a few tips about introducing a cat to the home when a dog is already present. .
Don’t just assume, however, that when a cat and a dog live together that they always get along. Some family pets engage in fights that the owners have to step in and break up. (I’ve heard some rumors about Jessie and our beloved late Bo, but I’m not sure how much to believe just yet!)
Rarely, due to its size, will a dog be afraid of a cat. In some cases, the dog is actually smaller than the cat and may spend a good deal of its time in fear of the cat. (I could strike a rather commanding presence, if necessary!) Pets that are scared will usually spend the day in hiding, perhaps down in the basement or under a bed. Sadly, this can lead to chronic illness and undue anxiety. We don’t need that.
When introducing your new cat to the resident dog, you should provide a safe and friendly introduction setting. You need to decide which of the two pets is considered to be the main one in the home. Then, ask yourself if this animal has ever had past experience with this other species. If so, how did that animal react? This will help you to choose the right cat for your dog or the right dog for your cat. I am confident that Ms. Karen’s selection of me was the right choice!
With a new dog, there is the risk of the dog becoming territorial. It is best to consider that the dog might injure the cat as opposed to the cat injuring the dog. (Oh, yeah? Try me!)
When you introduce the animals to each other, be sure to have enough of the human kind around to keep both pets safe. Keep the dog on a leash for that initial introduction, and keep the cat under control, as well. Go ahead and let them sniff each other and let them be near each other, but don’t let either one or both take over the entire situation.
Before one or the other thinks they are the boss, you have to establish right off the bat that YOU are the boss…to both of them! They are merely the guests. Spend time with them together and allow them to get to know each other. Before long, it will probably seem as if they have been best buds all along. (As for the boss thingy….I’m still working on that dynamic!)
(Thanks to barkleyandpaws.com for this great info. It won’t be too long before I establish dominance, er, a friendly demeanor, over Miss Jessie!)