Introducing Your New Puppy to Your Cat
Are you introducing your new puppy to your cat? So, you bring your puppy home, and it shakes with overzealous energy at meeting the cat. It barks at the cat, wags his tail and wants to play. However, like many circumstances where the cat feels annoyed, she retreats and perches herself up on the cat tree to figure out how to deal with the new household pest. Introducing a puppy to a cat can be a comical situation, but if you don’t have a cat tree it could get confrontational. Consider getting one to allow your cat to escape the loving attention of your fun-loving puppy.
Introduce Their Scents First
When introducing a puppy to a cat, you should first introduce them to each other’s scents in separate locations in your home. One of the easiest ways to do this is by leaving blankets or toys in the room of the other. Next, it is time to bring them into a face-to-face encounter. You will want to put a barrier between them in the beginning. For example, you might put the cat in a carrier or use a baby gate or other barrier that the cat cannot leap over.
Private Space for the Cat
If possible, you should designate a private room or space where only the cat can enter. You’ll want to make it hard for the little pup to follow. Under most circumstances, the cat and puppy will grow into best friends as time passes. Nevertheless, each situation deserves its own assessment before you leave the two unsupervised in the home. The key is to build an environment where they will grow fond of each, which means giving the cat its privacy as they need it.
Train Your Puppy
Introducing your new puppy to your cat is a process. When your puppy acts calm and collected near the cat, reward that behavior. Do not let your pup harass, chase or torment the cat. The goal of rewarding good behavior and not allowing poor behavior should always be top of mind as your train these two to become friends. Use positive reinforcement, and try not to punish your puppy for the occasional lapse in behavior. The problem with punishment is how it could evoke an undesirable response and cause issues between the cat and the puppy.
Be sure to supervise them for a while, especially their first encounter. The initial encounter can be dangerous for the cat and pup if they are not monitored. You might also hook your overzealous pup on a leash so that you can direct and supervise the activity. You will want to continue with this practice until you feel comfortable enough to feel that both pets will at least have a tolerance for each other. Spend time with both pets during this time to bond with them and put them at ease.
Do you have questions about introducing your new puppy to another household pet, or in general? Contact us and let us know how we can help.