Cat To DogIntroductions
Dogs can kill a cat very easily, even if they’re only playing. All it takes is one shake and the cat’s neck canbreak.Some dogs have such a high prey drive they should never be left alone with a cat. Dogs usually want to chase andplaywithcats,andcatsusuallybecomeafraidanddefensive.Use thetechniquesdescribedabovetobeginintroducingyournew cat to your residentdog.
Ifyourdogdoesn’talreadyknowthecommands"sit," "down,""come" and"stay," youshouldbeginworkingonthem.Small pieces of food will increase your dog’s motivation to perform, which will be necessary in the presence of suchastrong distraction as a new cat. Even if your dog already knows these commands, work with obeying commandsinreturn for atidbit.
After your new cat and resident dog have become comfortable eating on opposite sides of the door, and havebeenexposedtoeachother'sscentsasdescribedabove,youcanattemptaface-to-faceintroductioninacontrolledmanner.Put your dog's leash on, and using treats, have him either sit or lie down and stay. Have another family memberorfriend enter the room and quietly sit down next to your new cat, but don’t have them physically restrain her. Havethispersonoffer yourcatsome specialpiecesoffoodorcatnip.Atfirst,thecatandthedogshouldbeonoppositesidesofthe room. Lots of short visits are better than a few long visits. Don’t drag out the visit so long that the dogbecomesuncontrollable. Repeat this step several times until both the cat and dog are tolerating each other’s presencewithoutfear, aggression or other undesirablebehavior.
Let Your Cat Go
Next, allow your cat freedom to explore your dog at her own pace, with the dog still on-leash and in a"down-stay."Meanwhile, keep giving your dog treats and praise for his calm behavior. If your dog gets up from his "stay"position,he should be repositioned with a treat lure, and praised and rewarded for obeying the "stay" command. If your catrunsaway or becomes aggressive, you’re progressing too fast. Go back to the previous introductionsteps.
Although your dog must be taught that chasing or being rough with your cat is unacceptable behavior, he must alsobetaught how to behave appropriately, and be rewarded for doing so, such as sitting, coming when called, or lyingdownin return for a treat. If your dog is always punished when your cat is around, and never has "good things" happen inthecat's presence, your dog may redirect aggression toward thecat.
Directly Supervise All Interactions Between Your Dog And Cat
You may want to keep your dog on-leash and with you whenever your cat is free in the house during theintroductionprocess.Besurethatyourcathasanescaperouteandaplacetohide.Keepyourdogandcatseparatedwhenyouaren'thome until you’re certain your cat will besafe.
Dogs like to eat cat food. You should keep the cat food out of your dog's reach (in a closet or on a high shelf).Eatingcat feces is also a relatively common behavior in dogs. Although there are no health hazards to your dog, it’sprobablydistastefultoyou.It’salsoupsettingtoyourcattohavesuchanimportantobject"invaded." Unfortunately,attemptstokeep your dog out of the litter box by "booby trapping" it will also keep your cat away as well. Punishment afterthefact will not change your dog's behavior. The best solution is to place the litter box where your dog can’t access it,forexample: behind a baby gate; in a closet with the door anchored open from both sides and just wide enough foryourcat; or inside a tall, topless cardboard box with easy access for yourcat.
A Word About Kittens And Puppies
Because they’re so much smaller, kittens are in more danger of being injured, of being killed by a young energeticdog,or by a predatory dog. A kitten will need to be kept separate from an especially energetic dog until she isfully-grown,and even then she should never be left alone with the dog. Usually, a well-socialized cat will be able to keep a puppyinitsplace,butsomecatsdon’thaveenoughconfidencetodothis.Ifyouhaveanespeciallyshycat, youmightneedto