Introducing your dog to a cat needs a correct strategy and patient. With proper preparation, dogs and cats live in harmony in many households. When moving a cat into your home, there are a few things to keep in mind beforehand. And not only that: dogs and cats are often inseparable in many households. 

They clean each other, cuddle and play with each other. Preparing your pets well is crucial to this success. Here, we present you everything you need to know and ten simple tips and tricks on how you can quickly get your dog and cat used to each other.

Good Preparation is Half The Battle

The dog has always been man’s best friend. But now a cat is moving into your home. 

Is that a reason for envy and competition? Not if you’re making preparations. 

If you prepare your dog for your new cat’s move-in in advance, you will save a lot of trouble afterward. It is a good idea to familiarize your dog’s senses with the nature of the cat. 

That means: give your dog a blanket that smells like your new cat. This allows your dog to get used to the smell.

Play or imitate cat noises. If your dog was not familiar with such noises before, he will learn them and be able to assign them to your cat when he moves in. 

When you pair the smell or sound of a cat with a treat, you adopt the classical conditioning learning method. Your dog associates something positive with the new stimulus. So he is open and friendly towards your new furry friend. To get a kitten used to a dog, or the other way around it may take weeks or months to get used to each other.

Introducing A Kitten To An Older Dog

Better not! An older dog will not feel confident as well as the kitten. Many dog owners are worried about their dogs’ capabilities to attack and destroy the animal, mainly when the animal is another pet. 

This is probably the worst possible scenario, but you need to think about it. A dog (particularly an aggressive one) can easily harm a cat and kittens. So it is best to wait until your kittens have grown before introducing them to each other. This is especially important if your dog is very lively and playful.

Will A Dog Eat A Kitten?

In the case that a dog chases after a running pet and injures the cat, you should accept that as a natural behavior.

One can think, “How can that be natural behaviour. I never knew my dog would do anything so terrible!” 

We once felt the same way as you do about them, and we thought of them as horrible creatures with fangs ready to destroy any cat that walks by. Nevertheless, things can be looked at accordingly. 

Anthropomorphism enters into effect, ultimately, when we believe dogs have person-like characteristics. Compared to humans, dogs are not as conscious or humane as we are. It is also understandable that dogs often kill other small animals to feed their hunger.

Dogs manifested the predatory desire to chase and kill running creatures comes from their ancestors. What does predatory activity mean? Animals are destined to discover, pursue, and eventually slaughter their victims for food. 

Many dogs (or even puppies) have a certain amount of predatory drive. Your dog is excited to hunt another animal or have another toy because of this desire. Hunting or killing was a way of life in a dog’s time before the human age. The predatory drive is a series of acts that are performed through a two-step method. 

First, keep an eye on the victim. Second, stalk it. Once he feels confident, the dog grabs and bites it. 

If successful, this animal destroys the victim and, finally, eat the still-living victim. In reality, individual dogs would not go through the entire series. It depends on genetics, inspiration, and other influences. 

If your dog ever saw a running cat, the incident may have caused the territorial urge inside him. A dog’s predatory drive is activated when activity is observed. 

When a dog runs, his body instinctively and reflexively reacts. Suppose the dog is conscious of noises and can see the actions from a distance (e.g., at night). 

In that case, it can fixate on the source of the sound or movement using its extraordinary powers of hearing, ready to give chase if the noise or activity starts to escalate. 

When a dog senses something happening close, he may focus on one of two options; behave violently against the object or passively observe and decide what to do based on previous encounters. 

Make your dog listen to you. If not, give him a quick treat and calmly encourage him once again. Don’t let your cat’s first encounter with your dog end badly just because your dog is overzealous or aggressive.

Reward and praise your dog for behaving well around the cat. This includes being friendly or merely ignoring the cat. Your dog should enjoy when the cat enters the room and treat them well, not be aggressive or push them too hard.

10 Tips To Introducing a Kitten to an Agressive Dog

  1. Make sure your dog and cat are roughly the same age
  2. Take into account similar dog and cat minds
  3. Avoid negative experiences with the other species
  4. Dogs adapt to newcomer better than a cat
  5. Enable retreats
  6. Separate the feeding places
  7. Exercise your dog and cat before they get to know each other for the first time
  8. Get your dog on a leash at the beginning
  9. Learn the different types of animal communication
  10. Be patient

Make Sure Your Dog And Cat Are Roughly The Same Age

It is an advantage if the age difference between dog and cat is not too significant. An older dog who craves rest might be overwhelmed with a small, bubbly kitten.

The other way around is similar: if you currently have a puppy in your house and are moving in an adult cat, it can also create tension. Introducing a puppy to an aggressive adult cat is always a bad idea.

The adult cat may be annoyed with your puppy or not take him seriously. Territorial fights and dominant behavior are the consequences.

To avoid all of this, it is a good idea to get used to each other for dogs and cats roughly the same age. When both animals are young, the chances are good that the puppy and kitten will become one heart and one soul.

Since the animals have a similar energy level, tensions cannot arise in the first place. Old and young don’t always get on well.

Take Into Account Similar Dog And Cat Minds

People of the same kind stick together. Your dog and cat are more likely to get used to each other if they share similar traits.

Sometimes you have the opportunity to get to know the minds of your pets in advance. Make sure that your pets roughly match each other. If you have a dog that has lived in your home for years, you know its very own personality.

You know the character of your four-legged friend. You know whether he has a unique hunting instinct, whether he is playful or relaxed.

They know how much rest he needs and what amount of exercise is right for him. When choosing your cat, it is a good idea to find similar traits. Simply said, active cats for active dogs!

Avoid Negative Experiences With The Other Species

It is not always possible for a dog and a cat to know each other without prejudice. It doesn’t matter whether a dog is trying to bite a new kitten or the dog has been scratched – there is no second chance to make a first impression.

If possible, avoid letting your dog and cat have bad experiences with each other. As soon as tension or possible disputes arise, you should intervene.

As soon as the dog and cat get to know each other better, you can let the reins relax a little. However, should not gather negative experiences for the first few weeks of getting to know each other.

Dog and cat can best get used to each other if they don’t come into the room with prejudices about the other animal. This allows you to start from scratch and build a stable relationship – without distrust or fear.

Dogs Adapt To Newcomer Better Than A Cat

If you have a dog at home and have a cat move in, it gives you a particular advantage. Dogs are usually better at handling newcomers than cats.

Because dogs are pack animals, they need social interactions and connections to lead a healthy life. The natural pack feeling is subject to an instinct that the dog follows.

If, as the pack leader, you bring a cat into your new home and make it part of the “pack,” the likelihood of a positive reception is high. Your dog can get used to a cat faster than cats can get used to a new dog.

Of course, cats are also social creatures that shouldn’t be kept alone. Still, cats don’t have pack feelings like dogs. For a dog, the pack is the most important. If, as the leader, you decide to add one member to the pack, your dog will respect that decision.

Enable Retreats

An essential point, especially in the initial phase: Give your dog and cat a place of retreat where you can deal with the new circumstances undisturbed and alone.

When you get your dog used to a cat, both animals must have a safe place. This retreat can be a basket, a hut, or a hiding place. The other pet mustn’t be allowed to claim this place.

These places of retreat are essential for your dog and cat to process new impressions and feelings. Retreats are essential so that neither of them feels continuously harassed.

Separate The Feeding Places

To avoid food envy and competition, it is advisable to feed your four-legged companions separately. In this way, you ensure that your dog does not get to the cat’s food bowl and cause an argument.

Every animal should be able to eat from its bowl without fear of something being stolen. Disputes over food are not a reasonable basis for a harmonious coexistence between dog and cat.

Exercise Your Dog And Cat Before They Get To Know Each Other For The First Time

On the big day, both animals should be in a relaxed state when the dog and cat meet. Because without excitement, you enable the animals to sniff and get to know each other in peace.

We recommend taking your dog for a long walk before you get used to a cat. Play a little with your cat beforehand to at least tire it mentally. If both animals then meet in a relaxed manner, you can get more involved with the other.

This makes it easier for dogs and cats to get to know each other.

Get Your Dog On A Leash At The Beginning

Every beginning is difficult. When you bring your cat into your new home, you should maintain safety on all sides.

You should, therefore, always keep control of your dog. Put him on, and don’t let him take the lead.

Your dog shouldn’t have to decide for himself how long he and the cat will be together when he sniffs the first time. With a leash, you can separate the animals from each other without overwhelming one of your pets.

Learn The Different Types Of Animal Communication

Dogs and cats communicate in different ways. To get a dog used to a cat, they need to learn each other’s language. This process is important for dogs and cats to get used to each other. Nevertheless, it would be best if you always accompanied the first communication attempts between dog and cat. If you have any initial misunderstandings, you should take action.

However, you can only do this if you understand your dog and cat. A dog gestures differently than a cat. What means excitement for one is a sign of aggression for another. Find out in advance about the communication between dogs and cats so that you can correctly interpret your animals’ behavior.

Be Patient

Patience – the key to a peaceful reunion of dogs and cats. Getting a dog used to a cat is a process. From one day to the next, cats and dogs won’t be best friends.

What you can achieve within the first few days is mutual respect and acceptance of the animals. However, there is no talk of bondage and friendship so quickly.

Dog and cat can take weeks or months to get used to each other. Don’t try to force harmony. With a little patience and understanding, you can soon look forward to cuddling up with your dog and cat.

The peaceful coexistence of dogs and cats is possible. Allow your pets to withdraw and process the changes at their own pace.

Be confident and learn how your pets behave. Your furry friends will soon get used to each other.

And who knows? Maybe they’ll become excellent friends and go through thick and thin together.

Final Thoughts

If you follow a few rules, nothing should stand in the way of peaceful coexistence between cats and dogs. You can also get your dog to accept a kitten. However, there is no guarantee as every animal has its personality.