When cats meet dogs!

by Abi Birch // September 2017

When cats meet dogs!

Do you already have a cat in your house and are thinking of getting a dog? If yes read on for some help integrating your new puppy or adult dog into the home where cats already reside. Dogs can live with cats quite harmoniously if introduced slowly and positively. It’s a case of patience and positive associations for both cat and dog.

To begin with, you need to assign your cat a safe place, this needs to be somewhere where the cats can go without being followed by a rambunctious playful puppy or inquisitive dog. Stair gates are great for a slow introduction as they can see and smell each other but are both at a safe distance. Many households use stairgates to allow the cats access to the upstairs of their house, or a certain room where they can have some peace and quiet.

When carrying out introductions allow your cat to enter by its own choice and keep your dog entertained with something. This situation is a great opportunity for some positive reinforcement and to create positive associations. By using a stuffed Kong, we can keep our dogs busy and interested whilst in the presence of the cat.

If your puppy or dog would like to go up and say hello to your cat, ensure to praise them if they do so quietly. Be loaded up with tasty treats such as chicken, hot dog, cheese or even steak! Some really tasty high value treats will go a long way when reinforcing your dog’s good behavior around your cat. If your cat loves dreamies (or chicken too), utilize these to also reinforce that when your puppy or dog is around, the cat gets some really tasty treats too. If your cat would like to get away allow it the choice to do so. Unlike dogs, cats are not social species and are very independent so will not acquire the dog’s attention as much as your dog would like. To help assist with introductions like this keep your voice nice and calm and talk your dog or puppy through the process, this will reassure them that they are doing ok, cats can be just as scary to dogs so reassurance is key. Never leave your cat and dog together unsupervised without an escape route for your cat such as a cat flap or stairgate to separate the two.

Another option is making use of shelving around the house to allow your cat safe places to go rather than hiding under furniture and running between rooms. They can use the shelving to safely transition from room to room in your house without having to worry about being approached by your dog if your dog is a little over the top. To ensure your cats have traction on the shelves you can use yoga mats to give them grip when walking round! Check this set up out!

It’s important to realise that cats and dogs are two very different species and they won’t always get along. However, as owners we can ensure that they both cohabit safely and don’t cause one another stress and anxiety.

At Dog School Nottingham we cover elements such as impulse control as well as giving great information on dog behavior and body language to help you identify how your dog feels around your cats! Why not call us today to have a chat about how we can help you and your furry friends on 0115 855 9372.