This post is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Food, Shelter, & Love Program, but Dog Mom Days only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.
I can’t imagine my home without cats AND dogs. I grew up with a cat. Just one. Her name was Koos. She died when she was 16 years old – I was 10 (RIP beautiful girl) and it was traumatizing. My whole life I’ve had cats. The first animal I adopted when I got an apartment on my own was a kitten named Edison. Since then I’ve rescued two more cats from an animal shelter.
Here’s the catch: I have dogs also! When I rescued Wynston in February 2012, I had three cats and a guinea pig. So now the hard part – introduce the small Chihuahua to three crazy cats…
Honestly, my cats thought Wynston was another cat. He was indeed smaller than them at the time. The introduction went well and it only took a couple days for all of my babies to get used to each other. Although it may not be that easy, it’s always possible, whether you’re introducing an adult cat or kitten into your home.
Tips for introducing a new cat to your dog:
- Know your dog’s temperament. You probably know your dog pretty well. How does it do with other dogs? Kids? Does your dog have a strong prey drive? You need to make an honest decision on whether or not you think your dog will do well with a cat in the house.
- Brush up on basic obedience skills for your dog. You want to make sure your dog will listen to you even if there are distractions around. Positive reinforcement training will help with this.
- When you first come home with your new adult cat or kitten, put he or she in a room with a closed door. Allow your new cat to walk around the room and get used to smells and sounds in the house. The dog and cat can also sniff each other under the door, which will help each animal become acquainted. You don’t want to stress out your new cat (who is probably already nervous) or your dog.
- You can also put the dog and the cat in the same room if the dog is properly leashed, in case it makes a lunge or jump toward the cat. This will give you a good initial indication on how your dog is going to act.
- Reward the cat and dog for good behavior with treats. Delicious treats for the cat will lower stress levels and create a sense of comfort.
- Use a baby gate. You can put the cat in a room with a baby gate at the door so the animals can see one another. I would suggest supervising , however, especially if your dog may be able to jump the gate.
- Keep the dog and cat confined to separate areas of the home when you aren’t around to supervise, until they are completely comfortably with each other.
- Make sure your dog doesn’t have access to the litter box. This will ensure the cat knows he or she has a safe, quiet place to go to the bathroom.
- Stressful situations can cause digestive and skin issues for your cat. To help with that you can feed your cat Adult Sensitive Stomach and Skin formula from Hill’s Science Diet.
The introduction of a new cat to your home can be very easy and stress free if you don’t force the situation. Dogs and cats can live their entire lives in harmony if the introduction process is done correctly. Give each animal plenty of space and time. Patience is key. It will take some animals longer to come around than others, but don’t get discouraged. Khloee has taken a lot more time to get used to the cats than Wynston did. Sometimes she likes to chase them. Although Sadie gives Khloee a run for her money, we always stop Khloee from going after them. We know she just wants to play – but it’s not fair to the cats.
This post is a part of the The Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love® program series, which is encouraging people to support their local shelters by donating toys or food and spending time with the cats who need loving families. The program is also helping shelters get in touch with donors who can help their organization! Hill’s has provided over $240 million worth of food to nearly 1,000 shelters, 365 days a year helping over 6 million pets find a new home…and counting. When you choose Science Diet® for your own pets, you can help thousands of shelter pets around the country.
To get involved or find out more about the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love campaign, visit this link!
Have you ever introduced a a dog and cat to each other in your home?