The myth that dogs and cats do not get along is not always true.
It can be really great to let a puppy move into the cat’s home – if you have patience and give both the right conditions.
Here’s how to put one together for use with your first meeting.
Nose at a distance
Both dogs and cats communicate via scent markers. Therefore, leave the cat and dog separate in different rooms for the first few days. Then they can smell each other’s and hear each other from a distance. Lay out a blanket with the dog’s scent in the cat’s room, and vice versa. Be sure to give both a lot of cuddles and love during this period so that no one feels neglected.
When the dog and cat seem satisfied with the situation, you can let them swap places with each other, but without meeting. Continue to give a lot of cuddles and closeness and feel free to shift back and forth for a few days.
Meet at a distance
Once the cat and dog have started to get used to feeling the other person’s scent up close, it’s time to let them meet in the same room. Have them separated with, for example, a grille or a child gate. Choose a room where both feel at home, it is extra important for the cat who in a familiar room already knows his hiding places. Keep the dog tethered at all times so that you have full control.
Meet for real
If the meeting went well, it is time to meet without any barriers. However, make sure that the dog does not get a chance to hunt or tease with the cat. If the dog still does, be careful about punishing the dog as there is a risk that the dog will then link the punishment to the cat. The goal is to reward the dog if it stays calm when the cat is nearby.
Prepare escape routes
Hopefully, the dog and cat’s very first meeting has gone smoothly and painlessly and they can now stay in the same room at the same time. Even if everything seems to be going well, it is a good idea to arrange escape routes for the cat if it should feel crowded by the dog. It can be a high-lying surface where the dog cannot get to. A tip is to display, for example, a bureau in narrow passages, so that the cat has somewhere to jump up if they should meet unprepared. Do not leave the dog and cat alone unattended for the first time.
Give them separate spaces
Both the cat and the dog need to have their food bowl in peace for them to feel that they have their own space. In addition to food, also ensure that the cat has access to water, litter box, toys and claw options out of reach of the dog. Also let the dog eat without being disturbed by the cat, otherwise the dog may start guarding its food and there will be a fight. Remember that it can take a while for both of them to get used to the new situation, but with a little patience there are good chances that they will become good friends.