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Introducting a new dog to your cat. Will it work? Do you have to keep them seperate and keep the dog on his dog leash?

Friday, November 27, 2009
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-and-cattogetherIt’s safe to say that dogs are the natural predators of cats. There is no doubt that your cat will feel threatened with the introduction of a new dog. You must do the right things at the beginning of their introduction, or things could go wrong!  Do your homework. If you are adopting a dog from an animal shelter, make sure you ask about how the dog acts around cats. If you are adopting from another owner ask if they have cats in the house or if the dog was ever exposed to cats. If so, how did the two get along. If the dog was raised around cats, it is very unlikely that he will attack your cat when you get him home.

Separate the two as soon as you get the dog home. Use a gate and keep the two in separate rooms. This will enable your cat to take the initiative when approaching the new dog. This is important because the cat is the one who will feel threatened.

Once the cat can comfortably approach the dog, then the gate can be removed.  When the dog and cat are together, pay very close attention to how the behave. Do not let the dog bark, chase or lunge at the cat. This could ruin any possibilities of the two ever getting along. Use a short dog leash if the dog is a little too enthusiastic. Watch very closely. Attacks  happen very quickly and since your cat is much smaller (in most cases), she could be seriously injured. If you have any doubts or there are any signs of the two not getting along, you cannot leave them together alone.

The cat will usually only attack if the dog corners her. A cat scratch could harm your dog. Especially if he gets clawed in the eye. The dog could suffer corneal lacerations or other serious injuries.  When stopping the dog from chasing or barking at your cat, be firm but gentle when correcting him. You don’t want the dog to develop a negative reaction toward the cat. If your cat hisses at the dog, do not yell or punish her. The same kind of negativity toward the dog can develop.

Be very careful and patient. You want them to become best of friends!

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