Five Things To Remember When Introducing Your New Dog To Your Cat
By N. Stocker
Are you planning to bring a dog into your catís home? Be sure to keep these five things in mind to make the introduction less stressful for everyone involved.
1. Give your cat her own space
Whether your cat has spent six months or six years in your home, she has come to identify it as her home. Bringing a dog into her space can be quite upsetting. Help reduce the stress for her by maintaining an area that is clearly her own. Give your cat a place to escape to free from canine intrusions. Eventually, once the dog and cat have gotten to know each other (on their own terms), this wonít be necessary. In the beginning, however, it is important that your cat have a place where she can feel at ease and relaxed for her long naps and cleaning sessions!
2. Place the cat food and water in a place your dog canít reach
What might take your cat the better part of the day to eat can take just seconds for your dog to devour. Make sure the catís food and water is in a spot that is easily reached by your cat but not accessible to your dog. This will not only keep the food from being eaten by the dog but will give your cat a safe place to eat, somewhere where she doesnít have to be on alert while eating. If she doesnít feel safe, she may not eat. You will probably find over time that your cat will start to drink out of your dogís water bowl; perhaps this is her way of reminding your dog who is boss!
3. Keep your catís nails clipped
If your dog comes too close to your cat she will let him know by doing a kitty growl or hissing and accompanying that with a swipe at his face with her paw. If her nails are sharp that could result in her cutting his face or scratching an eye. This will certainly teach him not to mess with her, but it could be quite painful and even cause some real damage that could require a visit to the vet. Itís inevitable that your cat will swipe at your dog to assert her household dominance, so reduce the likelihood of a cut and keep those nails trimmed.
4. Keep the kitty litter out of your dogís reach
Dogs love kitty litter, especially used kitty litter! Some refer to the treasures the dog finds in the kitty litter as ďKitty RocaĒ. If you use a clumping kitty litter and your dog ingests too much of it, it could lead to a gastrointestinal blockage. Save yourself the hassle of discovering that your dog loves ďKitty RocaĒ and make sure the kitty litter is easy to get to for your cat but out of reach from your dog.
5. Be patient
Itís unlikely that your dog and cat will become friends overnight. However, over time you should see their behavior towards each other change for the better provided you do not force it. Some cats take longer to adjust than others. Your cat will probably develop a fairly intense fascination with your dog, always wanting to know where he is and what he is doing. This is partly due to fear and wanting to make sure the dog isnít coming near her and partly due to curiosity. Soon their interactions will become more amicable as the dog learns he canít mess with the cat and the cat sees that the dog isnít trying to hurt her (provided that he isnít!). Be patient and in time you may even see them snuggling on the dog bed!
About the Author: Nicole Stocker is the founder of Sloppy Kiss Cards, a site offering high quality animated dog ecards and cat ecards.