Cats and dogs have had a long and rather complicated relationship. Fido and Fluffy can be the best of friends, or the worst of enemies. If you have a cat and are considering getting a dog, or vice versa, you’ll want to proceed with caution. One thing that is very important is the manner in which your pets are introduced. First impressions are a big deal to our furry pals! Below, a Fort Collins, CO vet discusses introducing cats and dogs.
Choosing the right pet is often half the battle! When looking for your new furbaby, try to choose one that has already cohabitated with the other type of pet. Dogs that like to chase things, are territorial, or play rough may not be a good match for a feline roommate. Timid or aggressive kitties, on the other hand, might not do well with a dog. The dog’s size is another issue: large dogs can injure cats more easily than small dogs. That doesn’t mean that Fido is always the instigator, however: some cats bully their canine ‘siblings’! Try to choose pets that are close in age: don’t match a fragile, elderly cat with a big, rambunctious puppy.
Keep your furry pals separated at first. When you bring your new pet home, put them in a private room with all the required necessities, so they can adjust slowly. Before letting your new arrival explore, secure your resident pet in another room. Over the next few days, rotate the pets so that whenever one has free access, the other is confined. Your furbabies will grow accustomed to each other’s scents during this stage. Once both pets seem calm, you can make official introductions.
Make sure Fido is leashed when he meets Fluffy for the first time. Your kitty may hiss and ‘poof’ her fur at first: this is normal. Repeat this process several times. Don’t let them loose together until both pets seem calm and relaxed around one another. Be sure to monitor all interactions until you’re confident that your furbabies are getting along. If your dog barks or lunges at the cat for more than a few days, or if either animal shows signs of aggression, separate them and consult a professional.
Please contact us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, for all your pet care needs.