Some people are Cat People. Some people are Dog People. Sometimes a Cat Person marries a Dog Person. And sometimes a person is both a Cat Person and a a Dog Person.
So... regardless of how it comes about, quite often a new kitten must learn to get along with the family dog. So... what is the best way of introducing a new kitten or cat into a dog household?
Christmas Season is not a good time to introduce a new kitten
to your household. It's way too busy and too stressful a time of year
for both you and your new family member
There are 5 things a cat and a dog need in order to build a happy relationship.
- A great Introduction
Adjusting to a new home and new people is stressful. It's best to allow the kitten to become accustomed to one new thing at a time. Start by giving it a chance to become accustomed to a dog-free environment first. You can confine the kitty in one room, or confine the dog to one area of the house. Once the kitten is comfortable with you and its new surroundings you can begin introducing it to the canine family member.
How long the kitten takes to feel secure and gain some self-confidence in its new surroundings can vary greatly. It may take as little as a few hours or a few weeks of confining the cat to a small area. Your cat will let you know when it is ready. Do not push the issue.
We do not recommend purchasing a kitten as a gift for someone else.
Allow the new owner to choose their new kitten personally.
After the kitten has had time to acclimate to it's new home and people, can allow the dog and cat to see each other from a safe distance. This way they can express their curiosity in safety and if the kitten feels threatened, it can easily leave without being chased.
The first introduction of cat to dog is a delicate negotiation that is best conducted with understanding of cat and dog behavior. The key is to make sure the kitty has an place where it can get away from the dog if it feels threatened. Because is the cat who is most likely to be intimidated by the dog, it is the cat who you must allow to set the "pace" of the introduction.
The first step is to allow the cat and dog to become used to one another.
- allow the cat and dog to sniff underneath a closed door
- next, place the dog behind a screen door, a baby gate, or in a cage of its own if it has one
- if trained, command the dog to lay down and stay (so it is less intimidating to the kitten )
- allow the kitten to approach the dog
- control the dog of it barks or lunges.
- Let the kitten come and investigate on it's own
- if the kitten is frightened, let it retreat to a comfortable distance
- remain calm and act like this is nothing unusual
- if the kitten comes up close to sniff and meet the dog, calmly praise the dog
- if the dog gets up or acts in any way that the kitten feels threatened, correct the dog and make it lay/sit again.
Still want to give a kitten as a gift? Wrap a china cat or a plush toy kitten as a present to unwrap on Christmas day with a note saying you will choose your kitten together after the holidays
Even after successful introductions have been made, you must still provide some supervision to protect your kitten from being chased or even from the too boisterous play of an affectionate dog.
- provide the kitten with a retreat - this is an important safety issue
- separate the cat and dog if you are not going to be home
- the dog must be taught to respect the kitten
DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT CATS
Some cats become great buddies with their doggy pal. They sleep together, share food, perhaps even groom one another. Some cats and dogs simply tolerate one another in their home. Others ignore one anothers existence entirely. They adopt the "I can see right through you" stare...
It all depends upon their individual personalities. And perhaps it depends a little bit on how well you orchestrate those first few meetings. So good luck!