How to Introduce an Older Cat to a New Dog

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Start by keeping the animals apart.,
Swap scents.,
Feed the two animals on separate sides of a door.,
Start training your dog.,
Introduce them face to face.,
Allow your cat to come and go.,
Reward your dog’s good, calm behavior.,
Watch for warning signs that this is not a safe match.

When you’re introducing a new dog to an older cat, you’ll want to plan their introduction carefully. Though they’re sharing your home, male sure that they’re confined to their own spaces at first. Allowing them time to adjust to each others’ scents within your home will help them get used to each other.You’ll want to prevent any direct contact until your new dog has had his vet checkup and is cleared of any contagious diseases or infections.
Consider having a sanctuary room for your cat, who’s likely to be more comfortable in a confined space.;
, Animals use smell to “see” and understand one another. To help speed this process for your new dog and your resident cat, switch their sleeping blankets so they become used to each other’s scent. Or try rubbing a towel on one animal and put it under the food dish of the other.If you have other animals, do this with each animal in the house.
Allow your animals to sniff each other when they’re in close proximity.

, During the time when they’re still being separated, start to feed them at the same time, but on separate sides of the same door. For example, if your cat’s sanctuary space is in your bedroom, put her food dish by the door inside your room, and put your dog’s food dish in the hall.They’ll be able to smell each other and recognize how closely they’re in proximity to each other.
This will encourage them to associate each others’ scent with good things, like food.
With each feeding, move their bowls a little closer together, but keep the door closed.

, If he’s a rescue dog, he may already know some basic commands, such as “sit” or “stay.” If he doesn’t, he may learn them quickly.For example, teach your dog to sit by holding a treat above and slightly behind his head. His body will naturally sit in order to access the treat.
As soon as his bottom touches the floor, reward him with the treat. Say, “Good dog!” in a cheerful voice.
Repeat, using identical gestures and voice commands.
Being able to follow basic commands (sit, down, come, and stay) will help ease the introduction to your cat.

, Once they’ve become accustomed to each others’ scents, allow them to meet. Your cat should be able to come and go as she pleases, while your new dog should be held on a leash. Keep these initial meetings quite short, and provide plenty of treats and praise so that they continue to associate each other with good things.Don’t restrain either pet in your arms, because this risks injury.
Repeat this introduction process several times per day for several days.

, After a few introductions, allow your cat to come and go while your dog remains confined to a leash. If your dog is crate-trained, keep him in the crate while encouraging your cat to explore the room.If your dog obsessively paws the floor, whines, barks, or attempts to get out of his crate when looking at the cat, you’re likely to need the help of a behavior specialist.
If your dog relaxes his attention, appears calm or stays focused on you, reward him with a treat.

, When you’re making introductions, have your dog sit or stay. If he obeys your command, reward him with a tasty treat. Dogs are more likely than cats to learn to associate the treat with behavior. This will also keep the dog’s attention on you, rather than the cat. Your cat can then explore the dog with more confidence.You can toss some cat treats to your cat as well, but don’t allow your dog to catch them.
If either pet acts aggressively, such as growling or snarling at the other, calmly distract and redirect him.
Finish by calling the dog’s name and returning him to his own space. Allow the cat to return to her own sanctuary space, and close the door.

, There are some dogs and cats who should never be left unsupervised together. Be aware that some dogs will never be safe around cats. A cat who continually hisses and growls at all types of dogs won’t be happy living with dogs. Some dogs and cats just aren’t good matches with each other, though they may be fine around other animals. Even though there’s likely to be a difficult period at first, if you don’t see improvement in your pet’s behavior within 48 hours, you’ll likely need to consult with an animal behavior specialist. Warning signs include the following:Warning signs include:

If your dog continues to be overly focused on the cat, not taking his eyes off the cat
If your dog ignores you, and doesn’t follow your commands when the cat is present
If your dog lunges at the cat when she moves
If your dog lunges, snarls, growls or snaps at your cat even if she’s not moving
If your cat attacks your dog when your dog is quiet and not moving

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