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Are you bringing a new dog into your home? Congratulations! Of course, if you have a cat, your feline buddy probably won’t be as enthusiastic as we are. First impressions are a very big deal to pets, so it’s important to handle introductions properly. In this article, a local vet discusses getting Fido and Fluffy started out on the right paw.
Before bringing Fido in, put Fluffy in a quiet back room with kitty essentials. Let your pup explore and sniff everything. When it’s time for his next walk, let your cat out, and put Fido in the quiet room. It’s now your kitty’s turn to get used to the new scent. Keep switching back and forth. Pay lots of attention to your kitty, so she doesn’t feel ignored or isolated.
After a few days of swapping places, both of your pets should have accepted the idea that there’s another furball in town. At this point, you can let them officially meet. Use a carrier or a puppy gate to let them see and sniff each other through a barrier. Don’t give them full access to each other right away, though. Offer both pets treats and praise to help sweeten the deal. If all goes smoothly, proceed with caution. If not, start over. Monitor all interactions carefully, and don’t leave your dog and cat alone unsupervised until you’re sure they’re getting along. This could take some time. Don’t rush things!
Make sure that your kitty has a place to go in every room. It’s very important for her to always have an escape if she feels scared or threatened. This should be somewhere that Fido can’t reach her. Vertical spaces, such as cat towers, work great for this. (Your feline pal will also gain a scratching post and napping spot out of the deal.) Most cats also appreciate having some hiding spots behind or beneath chairs, sofas, and beds.
Fluffy and Fido often do learn to cohabitate, and may end up getting along just fine. Sometimes, they even become bffs. Or, they may just ignore each other. However, there are cases when cats and dogs fight like, well, cats and dogs. This can be very dangerous! That’s why it’s so important to choose a cat-friendly dog. If your four-legged friends don’t warm up to each other, consult your vet or a professional trainer. Otherwise, if things don’t go well, one of your pets–most likely your kitty–could be seriously injured.
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