Introducing Your New Dog to a Resident Cat

by Karen Mellis

Typically, I put the cat in one room, let the dog come in and explore the house and smell but not see the cat. Then after a couple of hours I put the dog in a crate and let the cat out. Cats can be very sensitive to environmental changes so her reaction to the dog in the crate will dictate how you proceed.

If the cat 'bushes out' and starts hissing, then you want to do a slow gradual introduction over the course of several days/weeks. Starting with things that smell like the cat and dog, present them to the other and let them get used to the smell. When the cat no longer reacts fearfully to the smell of the dog, then you can start putting them in the same room for short periods of time, one crated one not and alternate each time. Once they stop reacting fearfully/aggressively then you can have them meet without being crated.

If the cat seems curious and the dog isn't reacting aggressively then you can let the dog out of the crate and see how they do. If the dog does react aggressively in the crate, then again, it will be the gradual introduction process and you want to show the dog that the cat is part of the pack just like everyone else in the house. While the dog is in the crate let him see you and the cat being affectionate/playing together.

Also just because a dog wants to tear after a cat on the street, doesn't mean he won't be able to live with a cat at home.