Cats are essentially solitary and territorial, this behavior was rooted in their wild ancestry. This is why you wouldn’t normally see a cat running up to a “strange” cat and wanting to play. Felines will lay claim to their turf, and will fight invaders fiercely. What does this mean when it comes to introducing dogs and cats? We have a few suggestions that might be helpful.
Take things slow! If I’m a cat and a new dog is coming through the door, I’m thinking “invasion.” Neither animal knows if the other is friend or foe! Restrain the dog on a leash and always provide the cat with a safe escape. Use baby gates for a solid separation, or a sturdy cat tree can be a great vertical escape route. If you bring your new cat home in a carrier, do not let the dog rush up to the carrier. Put the dog outside and let the cat hide as long as needed. You can also try rubbing a washcloth on your dog and then allowing the cat to sniff the cloth. Catnip and treats are always a good way to redirect and encourage good behavior.
While over time, most dogs and cats can learn to live in co-habitation, doesn’t always mean that they will fully accept one another. Some dogs and cats can sometimes become the best of friends. Either way, providing each species with the space they need as well as the love they crave will help the process.
Please call our office if you have any other further questions. 505-869-2627