I just finished reading a very informative article on how to introduce dogs and cats to each other, written by Sherry Woodard on Best Friends.
Sherry is very thorough on this topic. If you are in the situation of bringing home a cat to introduce to your dog, or vice versa, this is an excellent article to read to help you through the introduction.
I like how she looks at the individual personality of the dog and cat. Even if the dog had past experience living with a cat, each one is different. Same with cats.
She recommends that we pay attention to the body language of the cat and the dog when they first meet. That will indicate to us how to proceed. If the cat’s ears are back and his tail are swishing back and forth, she’s not feeling pleased about this meeting as of now.
And if your dog has a strong prey drive, look for warning signs such as getting very fixated on the cat, stiffen up, stare at the cat, bark, or whine. If you see this behavior, do not let the dog near the cat. Not yet anyway, until you desensitize the dog to the cat’s presence.
Below this photo is an excerpt from Sherry’s article:
Here’s an excerpt from Sherry’s article:
Some dogs do fine living with cats; others simply cannot live safely with felines. Sometimes, a dog can live with certain cats (depending on their age, temperament and activity level), but not others. Even if your dog has successfully lived with cats in the past, it is important to remember that each dog and each cat is an individual and therefore each introduction is different.
Slow and steady desensitization
If your dog is too fixated on the cat, you can try desensitization, the goal of which is to reduce your dog’s reaction to the cat by gradually increasing her exposure to him.
To begin desensitization, let the dog view the cat briefly through the gate, and then get the dog to focus on something else, such as playing with a toy or practicing cues….Praise and reward the dog for being able to focus elsewhere. Continue to give the dog short viewings of the cat throughout the day.
Introducing kittens and puppies
If you are introducing a kitten to a dog, keep in mind that kittens may not have any fear of dogs, so you must watch the dog carefully. Because kittens are small and want to run and play, dogs with a strong prey drive may be very excited by a kitten’s movements. Even if your dog is OK with your adult cats, it is important to watch her closely when she’s with a kitten.
CLICK here to read the entire article.
Article source: Sherry Woodard on Best Friends
Image source: via Best Friends