Introducing Dogs to Cats: Cat Choice and Meeting Location

If many forms of popular culture are to be believed, dogs and cats hate each other no matter what. And while this sort of interplay you may have seen in cartoons or movies isn’t entirely accurate, it’s true that because these are completely different species of animal with very different instincts and behaviors, there can be situations where there’s some friction — especially if you’re introducing your dog to a new cat for the first time, or vice versa.

At Innovative K9 Academy, we’re proud to offer numerous dog training services, from puppy school to dog training camp and many others. Our programs cover a wide range of behaviors and needs, and we’ve happily assisted many clients who are looking for tips with introducing their dog(s) to a new cat in the house. What are some general themes and concepts we recommend here? This two-part blog series will go over everything you need to know.

Choosing (Or Avoiding) the Right Cat

In situations where you already have at least one dog in the home and are considering adding a cat to the mix, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind while selecting the cat. To whatever degree you have control over this selection process, here are some themes to consider:

  • Consider the personalities of both your dog and cat. The temperament of both should be compatible, not only with each other but with your own personality, lifestyle and environment. An outgoing energetic dog may do well with a more mellow laid-back cat while a more sedentary indoors lifestyle would suit a more active, playful feline companion.
  • Just as importantly, consider the age of both. Younger, older and middle-aged animals have very different levels of energy; if one is older or younger than the other, successful integration may prove challenging for both your pet(s) and you.
  • If your dog is aggressive and likes to chase or pin smaller animals, you should proceed with extreme caution, or even consider a different secondary animal if your dog is extremely aggressive.

Our next several sections, on into part two, will go over the actual introduction process and some simple training tips.

Location for First Meeting

Here are some basic tips on location for both types of cat-dog meeting:

  • Current dog meets new cat: While you may think this is a good idea, do not take your current dog to the shelter to “meet” cats — this will be highly stressful and traumatic for both sets of animals. Instead, ask the shelter if there are controlled conditions under which the two can meet — and if not, you may try having your dog first meet a confident cat who belongs to a friend or relative.
  • Current cat meets new dog: These introductions are generally best done at home, where conditions are usually just fine for them.

For more on introducing your dog to a new cat (or vice versa), or to learn about any of our dog training programs, speak to the staff at Innovative K9 Academy today.