How to Introduce a Cat to a Dog: 7 Crucial Tips

The age-old idiom “fighting like cats and dogs” exists for a reason. There are lots of cats and dogs that don’t get along with one another.

But you shouldn’t let that trick you into thinking that you can’t have both a cat and a dog living under one roof! There are plenty of cats and dogs that have learned how to coexist within the same homes over time.

That being said, it’s very important for you to learn how to introduce a cat to a dog prior to welcoming one into your home. You could run into some serious trouble if you don’t know how to introduce cats and dogs in the right way.

Would you like to figure out how to get a dog used to a cat and vice versa? Then check out these seven tips that will help you immensely when you’re bringing a cat into your home to live side-by-side with your dog.

1. Begin by Bringing the Right Kind of Cat Into Your Home

If you’re planning on bringing a cat into a home that has already had a dog living in it, it’s important for you to choose the right kind of cat. There are obviously tons of different cat breeds, and you’re going to need to try and go with one that has a reputation for getting along well with dogs.

A Bengal cat, for example, is going to be a great option for you. Bengal cats are high-energy cats that are known for doing well in homes that have dogs in them.

You’ll set yourself up for success when you go with this kind of cat for your home. You won’t have to worry too much about how to introduce a cat to a dog since Bengal cats and dogs get along better than other kinds of cats and dogs.

2. Shower Your Dog With Affection Prior to Allowing a Cat Into Your Home

When you first bring a new cat home with you, your dog is likely going to feel at least a little bit jealous of it. They’re going to feel like you’re choosing the cat over them, which is why they might act out and even act aggressively when it comes to the cat.

One way to try and get around this is by showering your dog with lots and lots of affection in the days, hours, and minutes leading up to you bringing a cat home. They’re going to respond better to you bringing a cat home when they see that it’s not going to jeopardize your relationship with them.

3. Set Up a Safe Place in Your Home for a Cat

The last thing that you want to do when you bring a cat home brings it in through the front door and immediately let it start running through your house. Both the cat and your dog are going to lose it if you take this approach!

Instead, you should set the cat up with a safe place to stay in your home. Preferably, you should give them an entire room to stretch out so that they can familiarize themselves with their new surroundings.

You should also give them everything that they’ll need to start to get comfortable. This should include:

  • A bed
  • A litter box
  • Food and water bowls
  • Toys

You don’t want to begin trying to figure out how to make cats and dogs get along until your cat is comfortable in your home.

4. Give a Cat and a Dog Time to Get Used to One Another’s Scents

While you don’t want to introduce a cat to a dog too early on in the process, you can start letting a cat and a dog get used to one another’s scents almost as soon as you bring a cat home with you. There are a couple of good ways that you can do this.

You can put the food bowls for a cat and a dog on opposite sides of a door and allow them to smell each other in this way. You can also swap the blankets that a cat and a dog use to let them smell each other like this.

Either way, you’re going to be able to slowly start to introduce a cat and a dog to one another. It’ll make their first official meeting a whole lot less stressful for both of them.

5. Take Extra Precautions When Introducing a Cat to a Dog

Once you feel like a cat and a dog have gotten used to each other’s scents, it’ll be time for them to meet face-to-face for the first time. But you’ll want to take some extra precautions when you arrange for them to meet so that their meeting doesn’t go awry.

You should place the cat into a carrier and put the dog on a leash before bringing them together. It’ll give them some time to see one another and “meet” without freaking out at any point.

6. Steer Clear of Trying to Force a Cat and a Dog to Get Along Too Quickly

After a cat and dog have spent some time looking at one another and “meeting,” you might want to try to let the cat out of its carrier and allow the dog off its leash. This will give them a chance to get closer and explore one another a little more.

But you shouldn’t do this until you’re 100% sure that they’re ready for it! You don’t want to try and force them to get along before they’re prepared to do it.

You also don’t want to overwhelm either of them. They should only spend a few minutes at most around one another at the beginning.

7. Keep a Cat and a Dog Separate When You’re Not Around

A cat and a dog might look like they’re getting along just fine at first. But that doesn’t mean that you should trust them to be together in the same room without any supervision.

If you’re not going to be around for any length of time, you should put your new cat back into its room and keep it away from your dog. It’ll stop them from getting into it when you’re not around to keep the peace.

Knowing How to Introduce a Cat to a Dog Is Very Important

Figuring out how to introduce a cat to a dog can be tricky. Not all cats and dogs react in the same way when they’ve introduced to one another.

Use the tips found here to try and make a cat’s initial introduction to a dog go smoothly. You should be able to get a cat and a dog onto the same page within just a few weeks as long as you take the right approach.

Browse through the other articles found on our blog for more pet-related tips and tricks.

Tim Hanson

Tim Hanson (49)

Contributing writer at Preferable Pups!