While it’s a commonly held belief that dogs and cats are natural enemies, in reality, canines and felines live together in relative harmony all the time.
But with a little effort and caution, chances are your dog and new kitten will be, if not best buds, then at least respectful roommates. Here are some tips for making sure your new odd couple gets off on the right four feet.
Know how to read your pet’s body language
No matter how happy or carefree your pet is, there is something that stresses them out, and it’s good to know those signs of stress or potential aggression — it’s how you’ll be able to prevent a serious incident. Even a small dog could seriously hurt a kitten if they get even a little aggressive, so know your pet’s cues and be on the alert.
The American Kennel Club lists ways to read your dog’s posture, facial expressions and other cues to know when it might be time to end a session with the new kitten.
Though your new kitten likely couldn’t do much harm to your dog, a jittery kitty can cause an otherwise calm dog to quickly get aggressive, so it’s good to know how the kitten is feeling, too. Here’s a handy chart for reading your kitten’s mood.
Give the kitten its own room
Before introducing your new pal to your old one, you want to give the kitten time to get acclimated to their new home. Have a room or other secure, enclosed area prepared so that your kitten can get used to the new sights, smells, and sounds. Let the kitten roam around this area for two or three days before introducing any new stressors to the situation.
Passing the smell test
Dogs use their noses like we use our eyes, so your dog’s first introduction to the kitten should be through its sense of smell. Your dog may get excited and huff and snort through the gap between the door and the floor, and that’s OK! Let them smell and hear each other for a few minutes at first, then gradually increase the time of exposure. Eventually, the kitten will just be another smell in the house.
Eyes on the fluffy prize
Face-to-face interaction is the last major hurdle facing the two pets. Through some sort of sturdy barrier like a fence or gate (no glass doors, especially if your dog is big and excitable), let the two strangers make eye contact at a distance. If your dog is prone to get physical when excited, you might want to consider restraining with a leash until you’re sure both pets are calm and collected.
Start at a distance, letting them see each other from afar for just a few minutes. Gradually increase the duration and slowly shrink the space between them, leaving the see-through barrier intact, just in case. At this point, you could move your kitten to a secure cat carrier and let the dog give it an up-close and personal inspection.
This is another point where it’s important to know the signs of stress in both your pets. If body language indicates any signs of stress, fear, or aggression, end the session and give everyone space to calm down. Try again later, with increased distance.
Once your dog and cat can see and smell one another with minimal reaction, it’s safe to let them see each other with no barriers. Keep your dog on a leash, just in case. Let the kitten approach your dog at its own pace, and always pay close attention to body language.
If everything goes well and the two can get face-to-face without incident, you can unleash the hound and let the pair hang out together at their own pace. Be sure to supervise them at first.
Patience pays off
No matter what, take things slow. The more patience you express, the better your chances of success. Keeping him safe and happy takes planning and patience for everyone in the household. The efforts will pay off, as your new little friend grows into a confident, affectionate kitty who knows there’s no place like home. Here are 10 tips for making your new friend’s arrival easier.
Don’t hesitate to seek out professional help before you decide that the relationship just won’t work. Many professional dog trainers can help the introduction become a lasting friendship.
Ocala Breeders Feed & Supply
Ocala Breeders’ Feed & Supply carries a large section of canned and dry foods. We have a large selection of Cat Care products such as litter boxes litter, scoops, and scratch items. If it’s not stocked just ask. We do Special Orders!
At OBFS, we understand that your pets are family members. That is why we provide a large variety of food, supplements, treats, collars, and leads. We have knowledgeable staff members to answer your questions and help provide solutions to your pet needs.
Don’t forget to join us during Pet Days October 19th-31st at Ocala Breeders Feed & Supply
Source: Diamond Pet Food