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Introducing a New Cat To Your Dog

Cannie is not excited about the new cat coming to live here.

I’ve always believed that I’m a dog person, although the first pet I got after I moved out on my own was a kitten. But dogs, with their happy faces and obvious affection, seemed to hold first place in my heart.

But after owning multiple cats for years (a sad side effect of being a vet tech; you collect cats), a year ago we lost our last cat to old age. It’s been so WEIRD not having a cat; I’ve found myself craving the sound of a cat purring, or having that little body curled on my lap, or the way cats slip through your legs while you walk.

Plus my daughter, six years old, is desperate for a kitten. Luckily, a friend let us know of a stray she rescued that needs a home, and we’re planning on getting the kitty soon.

But now we have to introduce the cat to our dog.

Cannie Belle is a shelter dog we rescued two years ago. While she’s initially tested poorly with cats in her behavior exam, her foster mom owned cats and Cannie had adapted to them just fine. When Cannie came to live with us, we still had our last cat, but she was so used to dogs it didn’t even occur to her to be worried or upset at the latest addition to our household, so they got along famously.

While this kitten has had some minimal exposure to dogs, she’s still a young cat and far more likely to run and therefore incite excitement in the dog, so we’re going to exercise some caution while introducing the two pets to each other. Using my own experience and the advice of the ASPCA, here’s our plan:

• We’re going to keep the cat in my office for a few days behind a closed door, allowing the two of them to get to know each by smell under the door.

• After a week or so of this, we’ll allow them to meet in person, with both adults present in case we need to intervene.

• We will keep the cat and dog separated when no one is home; the dog in her crate or the cat in the office.

With any luck, in just a month or so the two will be getting along famously.

Have you introduced a cat to your household pets? Do you have any other suggestions?

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