Introducing your new puppy to your cat

by Lana-Mae Hamper // August 2017

Introducing your new puppy to your cat

It is a very exciting time bringing a new puppy into your home, but what if you already have a feline resident?  Many people wonder if their cat and new puppy will get along.  There are a number of things we can do to make the introduction process easier for both canine and feline.

Always introduce slowly.  It will make things run smoother if there is a room in the house which you can use to settle your new puppy in.  A settle behaviour is something we can teach you in class, and it will help the puppy remain calm when the cat is around.  By settle we mean learning the cue for a nice relaxed behaviour.  The settle can be used for various situations so will be very useful for you and your puppy.   Your cat will know there is a new family member in the house due to the different smells, and this is something we can use to our advantage.  We can start the introduction with smells first.  We can do this by swapping the puppy and the cats blankets so each can first meet each other via smell.  This often carries a lot of messages as our pets have much better sense of smell than we do!  We would suggest you carry this out for a few days, before the puppy and cat meet face to face.

During this process you can prepare the house.  Make sure your cat has plenty of hiding places, especially high up areas as cats tend to feel more comfortable higher up.  This can be done by covering empty cardboard boxes on top of wardrobes, or making space on top of cupboards for your cat to hide.  A baby gate on the bottom of the stairs is another good idea, as this allows your puppy run of the downstairs but gives your cat the upstairs to feel safe in.

When ready for the face to face meeting, have your puppy on his lead and harness.  This will give you control of your puppy so if your cat wants to leave she can, without the worry of puppy chasing after her.  We would suggest doing this process for a few days.  Always take it slowly, if your cat tells the puppy off, do not reprimand either animal, this can cause anxiety and damage your bond with your pet.  A normal reaction from a cat when they are worried is to swipe, if this happens stay calm and allow your cat to escape if she wants to.  Distracting your puppy will help and we can give you ideas for this in class. 

Bringing your puppy along to Dog School training classes can start the puppy’s behaviour off the right way.  We teach a leave it cue, which can be used when the puppy is wanting to play with the cat and she isn’t in the mood!  Also a recall cue would mean that you can call him away when the cat does not want to play.  Best of luck with the introduction!

If you are interested in bringing your puppy to Dog School please call us on 01273 466 977 and we can discuss classes further with you.