Are you excited about welcoming home a new kitten but then also worried about how your dog will react? If so, do not worry, as this article will aim to help address any issues you may have.
Welcoming home a new kitten can be a very exciting and yet worrying time for any owner, especially if they have a resident dog to consider. As a dog owner, you may have lots of questions and you need answers. Will my dog become jealous, territorial, or even depressed? Will my dog get along with the cat? Will the kitten be scared? Have I made the right decision? Such questions are normal. At Country Boarding for Cats and Dogs, we often help answer these questions when we meet new cat owners visiting our friendly cattery in Hertfordshire. With this in mind, we have created five helpful tips on how to successfully introduce a new kitten to a dog. We hope you find this article helpful!
1. Prepare your Pooch!
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail! Dogs by their very nature can become very territorial, especially when a new pet is coming into their home.
Ensure that you give your canine companion lots of affection and praise when you welcome home your new kitten. This way, your dog will hopefully see that the new kitten is not going to take all your attention away from them. Within the first few days, it is recommended that you closely monitor your kitten and dog at all times, and never leave them alone together until they have properly settled in with each other.
2. Clear Mapped Out Boundaries
It can be a very daunting and nervous time for any kitten when they enter their new home. A great way of making your new kitten feel welcomed, is by preparing their very own safe space away from your dog. Ensure your kitten has a cosy bed, fresh water and food and then allow them to explore their new area. If your dog also has its own safe area of the home in which it spends most of its time, ensure that you respect their boundaries by keeping your kitten separate from them during the introductory stage.
Cats and dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell. Both animals have incredibly sensitive noses and use scents to communicate and gather information. Before you introduce your new kitten to your dog, a great tip is to familiarise them with each other’s scent. The reason for this is so that they can get used to each other’s scent before meeting for the first time. An easy way to achieve this is to take some each pets’ bedding to the other pet to let them sniff it thoroughly.
4. Meeting for the First Time
As a responsible owner, you should ensure that your dog is on its lead or harness and your kitten is in their own cat box when they meet for the first time. This is a great way for them to see each other without having to physically come in to contact with each other. During this process, it is important to monitor your dog’s behaviour and take them out of the room if they become too excited or agitated. This process should be repeated until your cat and dog become more relaxed and used to each other’s company. It is also very important for you to reward both pets for their good behaviour and offer words of encouragement, praise, and affection. You ultimately want to create a positive and loving environment for both your kitten and dog during their introduction.
5. Patience is a Virtue
The tip to successfully introducing your new kitten to your dog is to have patience and to let their relationship develop naturally over time. It will take as long as it takes, and every case is different. The best thing you can do is to take your time and with each passing day, be happy knowing that your kitten and dog are slowly but surely, familiarising themselves with each other.
We hope you found this article helpful. If you feel you need to consult a dog behavioural specialist for additional help, then please contact our online training platform DogBonding and our experienced pet behaviour specialist Renate, will be happy to help you. If you have a dog and cat that live together and have any questions related to this article, then we would love to hear from you.