Peace and harmony is what we all want in our families. However, your kitty and pooch may not think the same. Dogs and cats can live in harmony as long as you introduce them slowly, give them space and plenty of time to adjust.
Keep your cool. Before you plan on introducing your pooch and kitty to each other, you need to have a calm, authoritative demeanor. Animals can sense nervousness.
Learn about the difference between dog and cat behavior. Cats see physical place as important. Dogs see social order as important. Your pooch needs to accept your kitty's dominance over the territory.
Keep the new animal in a separate room with plenty of food, water and cat box litter, if she's a kitty. Let the resident animal have free roam of the house. He will sniff under the door when he discovers the new scent. Keep them separated for a few days.
Set up a screen or divider, like a baby gate, between the separated room and the rest of the house. This needs to be tall enough so the dog can't jump over it. This allows the two animals to see each other as well as hiss and growl without getting hurt. Keep them separated with a screen for a few days.
Put your pooch on a loose leash. Take down the barrier and introduce the two animals. They may growl, spit and swat. Don't scold them.
Monitor the two pets when they are together. Once you feel comfortable with them in the same area, you can let the dog off the leash. This may take days, weeks or even months before your pooch is ready to be loose around the kitty.
Feed your pooch and kitty in separate rooms. They shouldn't have to worry about their food. Cats like to sniff out dog food and dogs often will gobble down the cat food.
Scatter out plenty of dog and cat toys. If your pooch starts to chase the cat, redirect his behavior with a dog toy. If the cat swats the dog's tail, get her interested in the catnip mouse.
Provide plenty of escape routes for your kitty. Make sure she has places to jump on, if your pooch is annoying her.
Reinforce the dog commands such as "sit," "stay" and "down." Your pup needs to know that you are in charge. This will come in handy if he starts to chase the kitty.
- Keep your kitty's claws trimmed to protect your pooch.
- Exercise your dog so he is less apt to bother the kitty.
- Don't leave the house unless each animal is in a separate room or your pooch is in a gated off area or crate. Continue to keep them separated when you're not around until they have become comfortable with each other.
Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.