How to introduce a dog and a cat? And what if problems arise?
If we want a cat and a dog to coexist peacefully under one roof, it is important to introduce them correctly. How to introduce a dog and a cat and how to solve problems if they arise?
A dog and a cat can become friends, or at least be neutral. A lot here depends on us.
In the photo: dog and cat. Photo: pixabay.com
If we bring a kitten to the house where the adult dog lives
As a rule, kittens, if they did not have a negative experience with dogs, are open to new acquaintances. And if the dog does not show aggression, acquaintance can go smoothly. How to introduce a kitten to an adult dog?
- Bring a kitten into the house and let the dog sniff. Watch her reaction.
- Prepare a separate room for the kitten, where everything you need will be located (tray, bowls, houses, scratching post, etc.) and there, release the kitten from the carrier.
- Restrict your dog access to the kitten’s room.
- In no case do not leave animals unattended so that the dog does not harm the kitten.
- Carefully watch that the kitten does not climb to the dog when it is eating.
- Do not deprive the dog of attention. It is important that she does not feel uncomfortable with the appearance of a new tenant.
If we bring an adult cat to the house where the adult dog lives
It is more difficult to introduce an adult cat to a dog than a kitten, as an adult cat may already have a negative experience with dogs. And dogs react to adult cats, as a rule, more aggressively than to kittens.
- Prepare a separate room for the new household, where everything the cat needs will be located.
- Be sure to spend time in the room where the cat is located in order to leave its smell and mix it with the smell of a cat.
- Close all the slots in which the cat can become blocked. But there should be an alternative in the form of houses or at least boxes.
- When you bring a cat into the house, let it out in this room prepared for it.
- Before meeting, try to do everything so that both the cat and the dog are relaxed. The dog should walk well and follow the relaxation protocol or offer intellectual games if they relax the pet. The cat can be given light sedatives (but you should first consult your veterinarian).
- Feed the dog and cat on both sides of the door to the "cat" room (the door, of course, must be closed). Watch the reaction of animals. If they are uncomfortable, increase the distance. Thus, both the cat and the dog will get used to the smell of each other.
- Place rags with the smell of a cat in the place where the dog eats, and vice versa, and let's sniff them. This will cause a pleasant association with the smell of another animal.
- The door opens so that the dog and cat can see each other while eating. It is important to monitor the reaction of both animals in order to avoid fear or attack.
- When you go out for a walk with the dog, ask someone to let the cat go for a walk around the house and study it. The dog also should visit the cat's room, but only at a time when the cat is not there.
- Introduce the cat to the dog in the same room. It should be a neutral territory. You can put a barrier between the animals (for example, a children's fence), or you can, if you are sure that the cat will not attack the dog, take the dog on a leash and put on a muzzle. If you are not sure how the cat will behave, it is worth putting it in the carrier (having trained it in advance). Before meeting it is better to calm both animals. It is desirable that one person is engaged in a dog, the second - a cat. Talk slowly and calmly, movements should be smooth. Give the dog and cat the opportunity to look at each other, treat and praise for calm behavior.From time to time, turn the attention of animals to yourself - it is important to understand whether the dog can switch at all, or whether she froze and stared at the cat, preparing for an attack. It is better if the first meeting lasts no more than a few minutes.
- Hold such meetings as often as possible, but make them short (the first - no more than 5 minutes, less possible).
- Reinforce your dog’s calm behavior. If you wait until the dog begins to show excitement, bark or tear to the cat and begin to call her to order or punish her, the cat will cause her negative associations, and your previous efforts to arrange dating will be in vain.
- Carefully monitor how animals behave, monitor body language. It is important to prevent the level of arousal at which it will be difficult for a dog or cat to tolerate the presence of another animal and control itself, so that at the first signs of arousal, the meeting should be completed.
- When a cat and a dog can safely be in the same room, they can be caressed or treated in the presence of each other, play with them. So they will be able to observe each other and develop positive associations for the presence of another animal. Choose your favorite treat and temporarily give it only in this situation. If tension arises, stop meeting immediately.
- Gradually transfer things from the cat’s room to other rooms, give the cat access to them, but restrict access to the cat’s room for the dog (for example, you can leave a gap in the door of the cat’s room so that the cat can go there, but the dog can’t).
- At first, divide animals if you can’t control their communication. It is important to avoid uncontrolled situations in which one of the animals can form a negative experience.
The duration of each stage depends on the behavior of both animals.
Do not hurry! It is better to spend more time at the beginning, but to do everything smoothly and without stress, than to cause suspicion and even hatred towards each other in the dog and cat, and then correct this behavior for a long time, endangering the health and even the life of the pets.
If something went wrong, return to the previous step.
If we bring the puppy to the house where the adult cat lives
- Before you bring a puppy to the house where the cat lives, make sure that the cat has enough opportunities to avoid conflict. It is important that a second tier is equipped, which the puppy does not reach.
- It is better to keep the puppy a couple of days in a separate room.
- Play with the puppy, but do not let him play the cat with active games.
- If the puppy is chasing a cat, call him back, switch to toys.
If we bring an adult dog to the house where the adult cat lives
- Before bringing a dog to the house where the cat lives, make sure that the cat has enough opportunities to avoid conflict. It is important that a second tier is equipped, which the dog cannot reach.
- If the appearance of the dog will cause some kind of rearrangement in the house, then it is better to do this in advance. The permutation is done gradually, the things of the cat are shifted little by little.
- It is important that the cat knows exactly where its tray, bowls, houses, etc. are located, and have free, safe access to them.
- Make sure that the dog cannot drive the cat into a dead end.
- The cat should be able to hide from the dog - preferably in a separate room where the dog does not have access. But don’t lock the cat there!
- When you first bring a dog into the house, it is important that the cat does not run out to meet you. It is better that at the time of your arrival she was in a separate room.
- When the dog looked around a little in the new place, sniffed everything, you can lead her into the room where the cat is. It is important that the dog is on a leash and in a muzzle.
- Praise the dog for its calm behavior and for being distracted from the cat to look at you.
- If both the dog and the cat react calmly, you can let them sniff each other.
- Praise the animals, treat them if everything went well.
- The first dating sessions should not last more than a few minutes. The first days, keep the cat and dog in different rooms, holding meetings 2 to 3 times a day.
- If the cat or dog is aggressive, the acquaintance goes through the steps, starting with feeding through the door and sharing smells through rags. But it is also important to understand the type of dog aggression: predatory, resource protection, or fear aggression.
What to do if a dog exhibits predatory aggression towards a cat
Predatory aggression is a dangerous thing: in this case, the dog can kill the cat. Therefore, it is extremely important to protect both animals. What can the owner do in this case?
- First of all, ensure safety. Do not let the dog and cat communicate if you cannot control this communication.
- Allow the dog to watch the cat in a safe environment. The dog should be on a leash and in a muzzle, and it is better if there is an obstacle between it and the cat (for example, a children's fence).
- Choose the distance at which the dog can look at the cat and not rush at it. If the dog cannot control itself, increase the distance.
- Praise the dog when she turns away from the cat.
- Shorten the distance very slowly.
- Start walking around the room. Vary the distance until you understand at what dog can walk past a cat without reacting to it. Reinforce this behavior and gradually reduce the distance.
- Let the dog in the muzzle sniff the cat, but only if the dog is calm.
- Hold the dog or tie it and give the cat the opportunity to walk around the room. Reinforce your dog’s calm behavior.
- If the dog reacts calmly to the cat every time, you can let it go and let it be in the room together in your presence.
- Be sure to monitor the behavior and body language of both animals, notice the slightest signs of arousal and stop communication. Do not let negative experiences form.
Keep in mind that you can work with this type of aggression for a very long time (sometimes for years), so you have to be patient.
If a dog or cat suddenly becomes aggressive
It would seem that peace and harmony reigned in the relationship between dogs and cats, and then suddenly (for no reason, for no reason, as the owners say) one of the pets began to behave aggressively towards the other. What to do in this case? It depends on the reason for this behavior.
- Exclude the disease. Perhaps sudden irritability is a sign of malaise, so you should contact your veterinarian.
- Analyze what preceded the manifestation of aggression. Perhaps one of the animals recently visited the veterinarian and “brought” someone else's smell. In this case, it is better to separate the pets until the "smell of the pack" returns and allow communication only under supervision.
- Perhaps there was a redirected aggression. For example, the dog was overexcited, and the cat fell "under the hot paw" (or vice versa). In this case, you will have to go through the dating scheme again to show the pets that they are safe with each other and to develop positive associations from communication.
If the dog constantly growls at the cat
- Eliminate the disease in the dog. Perhaps irritation is a sign of malaise.
- Does this happen in the same places? If so, analyze if there is competition for vital resources, if there are any intersections in the habitats of the dog and cat. For example, if they run to meet you and get confused under each other's feet, this can become a source of discontent. In this case, it is worthwhile to provide the cat with the opportunity to move around the second tier in conflict areas.
- Watch the dog and try to clean the cat before it growls (at the first minimal signs of discontent).
- Praise the dog when it reacts calmly to the cat.
If the cat is aggressive towards the dog
Most often, cat aggression towards a dog is associated with fear. What to do in this case?
- No need to punish the cat - this will only exacerbate the situation.
- Prevent situations in which the cat is aggressive (for example, think about how to properly distribute the territory so that the cat has safe free access to important resources and does not find itself trapped in a corner).
- Develop positive associations with your dog’s presence.
- If aggression occurs in the same places, it is worth “dividing traffic flows” - for example, equipping a second tier for a cat in this place.
- Do not place the cat’s bed where it’s convenient to reach the dog with its paw - for example, near the aisle.
If the dog and cat games get rude
If a dog imposes rough games on a cat, this can ruin their relationship and even result in injuries. What to do in this situation?
- Give the dog the opportunity to play, but in an acceptable way - for example, with toys, with you or other dogs.
- Give the cat the opportunity to take refuge on the second tier, where the dog does not reach.
- Reinforce the dog’s calm behavior with the cat.