Baby Rover has the playful nature of a small child and yet the instincts of a grown dog to hunt down prey -- and that can be dangerous for your cat. Train Rover to accept the cat as a family member and to play nicely with his new friend.
Introduce the cat to the puppy when the puppy is in a crate. By placing the puppy in a crate, both pets have the opportunity to check each other out without the ability to harm one another. While cats do not respond to bribery very well, dogs that are rewarded with treats, petting and praise for positive behavior toward the cat will soon learn to associate kitty with earning your praise.
Rub one towel on the pup. Rub the second towel on the cat. Place the towel with the canine scent on it beneath the cat's food dish. Place the towel that smells like a cat beneath the dog's food bowel. You may want to use towels that you dried off with after a shower. Your scent combined with that of the other pet will reinforce to each pet that the other pet is part of your family. The animals will associate the scent with positive things, like companionship, stroking and food.
Hold the cat on your lap. Have a friend or family member hold the dog. Alternately pet one animal and then the other while making comforting small talk. Stay cognizant of how comfortable the pets are in each other's presence. If the puppy shows signs of aggression, correct him firmly and block his view of the cat. If they both settle in for a nap, you will know you are well on the way to socializing your puppy and cat to live together.
Give the pets an opportunity for supervised social interaction once they appear comfortable around each other. Leave the puppy on a leash so you can quickly intervene if he moves to attack the cat. Keep in mind though that he is a puppy and may just want to play. Use a loud noise, such a clapping your hands and telling him to stay or stop if he starts playing too rough. Don't be surprised if the cat makes his own displeasure known as well.
- While most dogs are larger than cats, keep in mind that cats are not defenseless. An aggressive cat can be as dangerous to your puppy as a dog can be the cat. Cats have the added advantage of being excellent climbers. Look around your home for areas where a cat may not be able to get away from a excited puppy should the need arise, and consider placing a cat tree in that area.
- Never leave your pets uncrated and alone together until you are comfortable that they are best buds or are at least willing to ignore each other.