Introducing and Managing Cats and Dogs

by catfood

Cats and dogs are frequently seen as rivals. However, with the appropriate people picked and thoughtful introductions, they can and frequently do get along quite well.


Successful introductions depend on a variety of criteria, including the dog’s breed or type, age, and your level of control over it. Very intimate connections between dogs and cats often result from solid early experience and socialization for both species, though it is possible to achieve with cautious and patient introductions.

If the dog or cat has lived with other animals in the past, the transition will go more smoothly since they are likely to be less stressed (or, in the case of certain canines, excited) by the simple presence of another animal. If you’re unsure of how your dog will react, proceed with caution. Your dog might be more driven by this tendency than other kinds or types if it is a terrier or a breed that enjoys chasing, such a greyhound.

Making a Success Plan: Practical Advice for Getting Things Going

The first step in introducing cats and dogs is to make sure the current pet is as unaffected as possible.

Consider the surroundings

Whether a new cat is moving in with a resident dog or vice versa, the existing pet must have a secure area to be in that contains all of their wanted and necessary resources, such as food, water, toys, sleeping spots, etc (and for cats, litter trays, scratch poles, perching and hiding places). More might be bought and scattered throughout the house to avoid forcing the dog and cat to share resources.

Ideally, people should decide to spend their time here since it gives them a sense of security and contentment. If a resident dog, for instance, prefers to spend most of their time downstairs, let them to settle in and make that their home for a while. Similar to this, a resident cat may choose to remain upstairs.


Determine who will live where. In order for each creature to have their own protected space to happily occupy, free from having to come into contact with one another, the home will need to be “time-shared” at first.

Without having their liberties, preferences, or permits considerably curtailed, the current pet should be allowed to live here. Can the cat, for instance, have its preferred seat on top of the bookcase or use the cat flap anytime it wants? Can the dog use the same door to enter and leave the garden every time?

Introduce new goods gradually.

If you think ahead about where the new cat or dog will live, sleep, eat, play, etc., the current pet will have time to get acclimated to the novelty in the house before the new creature arrives. A few weeks beforehand, start introducing them gently and scattering them over the house. This will prevent a sudden change in everything.

Make the newcomer symbolize pleasant new developments in the resident animal’s life.

In addition to trying to keep things as normal as possible, it’s important to fight the impulse to give the new pet more attention than the present pet. When the new one comes along, implement more beneficial improvements in the pet’s life. The time spent satisfying and exceeding the requirements and wants of the current pet should also be time-shared, ideally little and often. Of sure, they ought to have some downtime without interruption from others. Increasing the probability of, say, any or all of the following

  • Playing with puzzles promotes tender touches and cuddles (if the pet values that)
  • Extra strolls (for dogs)
  • Personal training sessions

Increasing your pet’s favorite activities will help them adjust to their new home and housemate.


Identifying each participant

When the new pet has had some time to unwind, settle in, and is at ease exploring and using all of their resources, it’s time to think about how to introduce the cat and dog to one another. The new pet may take some time to acclimate or it may happen fast. This need to take place gradually. Starting out slowly is likely to produce a serene environment with content pets that, at the very least, form pleasant connections or at least calmly accept each other’s existence. Avoid giving them even one bad encounter, such meeting while they are scared or excited because they might hiss or bark at one another (let alone chase one another! ), since this will encourage them to have negative expectations of one another in the future.

To prevent them from coming into touch without monitoring under or through a door, the space should first be split, with the cat in one part of the house and the dog in the other, and there should be a gap between them, such as a hallway or a staircase.

End the session right away if you have any cause to think that either pet feels uneasy. Avoid taking a chance and allowing things to fail!


Step 1: Changing fragrances

The new housemates should first get to know one another via swapping fragrances rather than making any face-to-face introductions. Sniffing will allow dogs and cats to gradually become acquainted to one another’s scents, which will help them learn more about one another since both dogs and cats rely largely on scent and chemical communication. This should only occur if they are highly likely to get along, as determined over multiple cautious and progressive sessions. The fragrant object should initially be kept away from the cat’s cherished things in case it agitates the cat and prevents it from accessing what it needs. Scent trade can be continued over a few days, progressively rubbing each other’s aromas onto each other’s goods as long as both sides act careless about each other’s odor. “Scent-swapping” will probably also occur organically as the owner goes between each animal’s space, carrying the scent of the other on hands, clothing, etc.

Step 2: Examining each other’s territory

Once both of you appear intrigued but unconcerned about, or ignore, the scent of the new pet, it may be time to allow each of you explore the other’s spaces. For instance, allowing the newcomer to go beyond their space and investigate the “gap” region outside of it (for instance, the hallway next to the room the new cat stays in). Once everyone has returned to their respective areas, the dog can be allowed to investigate the area the cat has been investigating. Take the dog for a walk, and as things progress and the new pet appears content to explore more, have a family member let the cat to explore a location the dog frequently visits, and vice versa. Due to the way that dogs are normally socialized, trained, and habituated, it might be easier for a new dog to explore comfortably than it might be for a new cat, especially one that has a dog in it.

Step 3: Make eye contact.

If all goes according to plan, brief ocular contact can begin. When both sides are calm, both escape routes are available to them, and neither has the chance to directly approach, become imprisoned, or have their retreat route blocked, this must happen.

Important: Neither should be overly constrained or restrained. For instance, never cage one animal and then let the other approach after. This may be upsetting to the cat or dog in the box as they have no ability to flee an oncoming danger.

The cat must be allowed to retreat or move away and have access to adjacent hiding places, while the dog must be gently, force-free restrained using a well-fitting body harness and a loose lead.

When both creatures are actively engaged in a calming, delightful activity, like as a toy game with a human or a self-directed puzzle feeder, visual introductions work best over a barrier that is only partially covered, like a baby gate (covered largely by a towel wrapped over it). The sessions should be brief in the beginning and there should be enough of room between the animals.

If both animals are at ease with increasing sight access to one another, permit the animals to approach one another slightly (with a baby gate that is gradually opened). When the second animal is present, keep the sessions brief and provide the animals with plenty of peaceful, positive experiences and human contact.

Always be on the lookout for any changes in body language or posture, as well as any obvious signs of emotional arousal such as fear or excitement. When the animals are at ease with one another, sessions should conclude.

They can take more time to interact with one another, make wise decisions to be calm or leave one another alone, and then be rewarded as they grow accustomed to one another. As they become accustomed to one another, human interventions of offering a lot of rewards for casually observing the other’s presence can gradually “thinned out.”

Step 4: Contact is the following stage.

The cat and dog will eventually have been in each other’s presence long enough to recognize one another (exact timing will depend on the demands of the person). They would have been kept apart to avoid any awkward meetings, and they would have been praised for their poise in their presence. Now they must stand straight and support themselves! When it is anticipated that they will be able to coexist comfortably, the walls can be temporarily removed. Before putting the dog into the cat’s space and vice versa, rub the dog with a cloth or leave it in the dog’s bed. Introductions should always be directly monitored; this requires constant observation and the averting of problems when possible with helpful diversions like the use of food or toys. To get them to comply with your instructions so you can subsequently reward them with the toy or treat, you can utilize a bait, such as a toy or treat. You can use food or toys as lures to separate them by coaxing them apart if any tension develops or if one gets too close and the other shows symptoms of discomfort.

If things start to become tense, refrain from “crisis management,” which entails rushing in and grabbing someone. This may enhance arousal levels and the possibility of an awkward encounter that might jeopardize your future relationships.

The dog should be on a lead and harness, and its behavior and body language should be observed for signs of heightened excitement. The cat should be able to walk around and retreat as long as it is not in the dog’s space. It’s a good idea to work with each dog’s body clock, which includes choosing periods when they are naturally calm and prepared to settle. The dog’s leash should be free and should not be used as a form of constraint; rather, it should be kept nearby “just in case.” If the dog feels overwhelmed by the scenario because the lead is too tight, stop the training session and decide to try it again when there is more room and the dog is actively engaged, such as when the dog is feeding from a puzzle feeder. If the dog is nervous and the cat is aggressively approaching, gently step in and draw their focus elsewhere with food, rewards, play, etc. If the cat displays signs of nervousness, gently encourage it to withdraw, hide, perch, or do anything else that will make it feel safe and allow it to observe from a distance.

This approach works best when two people are involved, with each person quietly watching after and overseeing a pet while conveying what the other is seeing and doing.

Initial talks ought to be positive and succinct. Give them more time to “simply be” together gradually.

As long as the dog is acting normally, the lead can be discarded and allowed to trail so that it can be gently picked up if necessary.

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