Are you adopting a dog? Congratulations! Of course, if you have a cat, your kitty probably won’t be as enthusiastic as we are. First impressions are a very big deal to pets, so it’s important to handle introductions properly. Here, a vet discusses getting Fido and Fluffy started out on the right paw.

Sniff

Before bringing Fido in, put Fluffy in a quiet back room with kitty essentials. After your pup has sniffed everything, let your cat out, and put Fido in the quiet room. It’s now your kitty’s turn to get used to the new scent. Keep switching back and forth. Pay lots of attention to your cat, so she doesn’t feel ignored or isolated.

Meet N Greet

After a few days of swapping places, your pets should have accepted the idea that there’s another furball in town. At this point, you can let them officially meet. Don’t give them full access to each other just yet, though. Use a carrier or a puppy gate to let them see and sniff each other through a barrier. Offer both pets treats and praise to help sweeten the deal. If all goes smoothly, proceed with caution. If not, start over. Monitor all interactions carefully, and don’t leave your dog and cat alone unsupervised until you’re sure they’re getting along.

Keeping Fluffy Safe

Make sure that your cat has a place to go in every room. That way, she always has an escape if she feels scared or threatened. This should be an area Fido can’t reach. Vertical spaces, such as cat towers, work great for this. (Your kitty will also gain a scratching post and napping spot out of the deal.) Fluffy will also appreciate having some hiding spots behind or beneath chairs, sofas, and beds.

Best-Laid Plans

In many cases, dogs and cats do learn to cohabitate, and do just fine. Fluffy and Fido may become bffs. Or, they may just ignore each other. However, there are times when cats and dogs fight like, well, cats and dogs. This can be a very dangerous situation. If your pets don’t warm up to each other, consult your vet or a professional trainer. Otherwise, if things don’t go well, one of your pets–most likely your kitty–could be seriously injured. 

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