Your home and your heart is big enough for your cat and a new dog, but is your cat ready for a new companion of the canine kind? Introducing a new dog to a cat is a tricky business and can lead to failure if not done correctly. Both pets need to feel comfortable and safe in their space and now, with each other.
Start off with some deep consideration for your cat’s personality. If she’s an active, playful sort, you have more dog options available but if she moves slower or deliberately with no real crazy zeal in her you want to pair her with a dog who can match her style. Rescues and shelters try their best to socialize their adoptable pets and provide pet friend scores for each pet. You want to find a dog who has been around cats before and is known to get along with them. Certain bloodlines, such as the Terrier line, can be aggressive towards cats as well, so be careful when selecting a new dog to bring home.
Next, setup the boundaries and grab the tools necessary before you bring your new dog home. You must give both pets their own space, as well as a common area to spend time together. Pet gates are perfect for keeping your dog in a different section of the house, and though the cat can usually jump a gate, she might not want to at first. You also want to keep the dog away from the litter box, so he doesn’t disturb the cat in her privacy as well as keeping him away from the waste. The final thing you’ll need is treats for both pets to reward good socialization behaviors.
When you bring home your dog, keep the two separated for a day or two or until they are both calm and behaving normally. Both pets should be eating properly, and the cat should be using her litter box as usual. Take more separation time, but if the dog is not settling down, he made need additional training and socialization.
Once ready, supervise their first face-to-face meeting carefully and if either display any aggression, revert to separation. Repeat these steps until both pets can be trusted alone in the same room. This may take time as curiosity gives way to complacency and in time, companionship and love.