Boxer puppies are generally amiable dogs -- they like most everyone they meet, including cats and other dogs. The cat might not be so friendly. The boxer's affable nature and enthusiasm could lead to an acrimonious encounter with any unfamiliar cat, who could scare or injure the puppy, if not the other way around. The best way to ensure your boxer puppy and your cat like each other is to help them meet under optimal conditions.
Before the Introduction
Give both your boxer puppy and your cat their own spaces with resting spots, and fill them with the things they like best. Include an item or two that have the scent of the other. Gradually decrease the distance between their spaces.
Have your cat's nails properly trimmed by a professional. One jab of the paw could put your boxer pup at a huge disadvantage. The day before the meeting, minimize the chance for scratching. Even the calmest cat can be annoyed by the jumping exuberance and flailing paws of a boxer puppy.
Tire your puppy out. The best meeting will take place with a pooped puppy and a calm, manicured cat. Releasing the trademark energy of a young boxer will put everyone in the best mood.
Before and after you work out your puppy's excess energy, give your cat a high-value snack or treat.
Let the cat come toward the dog with you in between. Cats will usually take a little time to warm up, where boxer puppies in general love everyone. Have some treats, toys or catnip to entice the cat in your direction. Keep the puppy from bouncing around too much around or getting in the cat's face too quickly, but they don't need to stay still. If the cat wants to jump to a safer place or leave, allow her to do so. Your cat is already curious; she will eventually come all the way to the puppy, so be patient.
As the cat comes closer, stay in contact with both animals. Give reassuring, calming touches and vocal tones, and keep the treats coming to let both animals know they are doing okay and that you are there to protect the animals and control the situation.
Once all are at ease, encourage play with a common toy, like a bouncy ball. Redirect attention if the play gets too rough, and have time-outs as needed. Place beds next to one another and maybe add a common blanket. Share affection, play and feeding times.
Supervise all interaction until both animals are at ease. Limit time together and keep the puppy leashed for easy control. After a few weeks or a month with no concerns, you can allow unsupervised time. With the easygoing and silly personality of a boxer puppy, before you know it he will be in love with your cat. If the cat feels remotely the same, you'll have forged a lifelong friendship.
- Have a groomer or veterinary technician show you how to safely cut your cat's and dog's claws until you are comfortable doing it on your own.
Kat Toland has worked with animals for over 20 years. She's been employed in the pet industry, but more significantly has been involved in all aspects of rescue, working with cats, dogs, horses, even spending time with rescued wolves. She currently volunteers with a group that runs with shelter dogs.