Monday, February 6, 2012

Introducing New Cat to the Family Dog

Introducing a cat to the family dog is easy provided you take the steps to allow the new cat and dog to get use to each others scent.  

Dogs are generally more accepting to a new cat.  The dog may bark and chase outdoor cats  that walk through their yard or cross their path however if you pick up that cat and bring the cat indoors then the dogs attitude is usually “if the cat is okay with my master then it is okay with me.”  

It is  an adjustment for the cat especially if the cat is feral or not accustomed to being around a dog.   Cats usually need to bond with the dog before they will be able to reside under one roof.
8 week old rescued feral kitten and Pit Bull.  bond and are lifetime friends

I have introduced 12 feral cats to my dog.  During the introduction I have experienced behavior issues from both cats and dog. 

The dog is fine with the cats but when the cat hisses at the dog the dog will bark at the cat.  

When it comes to feral cats living with dogs it is best for the human to bond with the cat before they introduce the family dog.  The reason I say this is because the cat will bond with the dog and will ignore the human.

All new cats coming into the home are put into a separate room with closed door, this room will allow the cat to get acclimated to the surroundings, to get used to the new scents and to bond with me. This also allows my dog to get use to the new cat scent. 

Socialize New Cat before Introducing to Family Dog

Step 1
Put cat in new pet safe room and work with cat on a daily basis.  Socialize the cat with its human before introducing to other pets in home.

Step 2
When the bonding with human process has been completed, put the feral cat in a carrier and set the carrier in the middle of the safe room floor.  Invite your dog into the room and allow your dog to sniff the carrier. 

Step 3
Command your dog to lie down close to the carrier and to stay.  By doing this it allows the cat to view the dog at a non threatening way.  Allow cat and dog to visit with each other for an hour and then remove the dog from the safe room.

Step 4

Repeat step 2 and 3 for four days and on the 5th day put the cat in the carrier and set the carrier in the middle of the floor.  Command your dog to lie down.  Open the carrier door. Talk softly to your dog, encourage your dog to accept the cat.  The feral cat may bolt out the door and run and hide or it may be very brave and investigate the dog. 

The feral cat will be defensive and will be cautious around the dog.  A dog must be well trained to not react to the cat’s aggressive behavior.  My dog Benny is afraid of a hissing cat and will sit down and whimper. 

Step 5
Supervise the cat and dog to make sure that the situation is under control.  Stop the cat should it attempt to attack the dog.  Stop the dog if it becomes aggressive with the cat. The face to face visit should continue as long as cat and dog are being cordial with each other.  

When the cat walks past the dog and rubs his body or tail on the dog, it is a sign that the cat has bonded with the dog.  My dog reacts to the cat bonding as a sign that it is time to nuzzle the cat with his nose and to be affectionate; my dog will lie down close to the cat and rest with the cat or take a nap.
Step 6
When cat and dog have bonded, you can now allow the two of them to live under the same roof.  When the socialization reaches this point I usually open the safe room door at night to allow the cat to investigate the home.  The cat will then be able to explore when everyone is asleep.  The cat will then hide under the sofa or will return to the safe room when the exploration of house is completed.  

When cat explores the house the dog will follow the cat.  My dog Benny will stay up all night with a new cat.  In the morning the cat will either return to its safe room or they will hide in a new location.  Feral cats prefer to sleep in a dark area during the day; closet, under the bed or sofa. 

Bach Pet Rescue remedy is a natural way to relieve pet stress and to calm an anxious pet. 

Helpful to spray the cat carrier with feliway mood modifier before you put cat in.  This treatment will calm an anxious cat.

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