What could be more fun than owning a cat? How about adding a new puppy to the mix? Chances are that if you are expanding your furry family, your original four-pawed residents may have something to say about it.
Integrating your cat and a new puppy can have its challenges, but Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital knows how to help.
Nice to Meet You
First impressions mean a lot, and it’s no different for your cat. When introducing a new puppy into your home it is important to make sure that things go smoothly.
Be sure that you schedule a wellness visit with us for your existing pet so that we can check things out. A pet who is sick or in pain is unlikely to be welcoming to the typical bouncing bundle of joy that is a new puppy.
Take some time as well to set your cat up with a private space all their own. Feeding stations, litter boxes, toys, sleeping areas, and vertical space should be available in an area that will be off limits to your new puppy.
It’s also important to establish a routine with your cat- you are a resource that will be difficult to share as well. The use of synthetic pheromones such as Feliway can also be helpful.
When you bring your new puppy home, be sure to take things slow. You might:
- Allow your cat to spend time with something that smells like the new puppy like a towel or blanket.
- Keep the cat and new puppy in separate areas for awhile, then switch areas so that they can become accustomed to one another.
- Help your cat to have a way to avoid and/or escape the puppy if desired.
- Increase your cat’s vertical space to allow observation from up high.
- Make an extra effort to not disrupt your cat’s normal daily routine.
- Avoid forcing interactions between your cat and new puppy.
Cats tend to do best with novel things if they think it was their idea first, so make sure that you let your pets’ relationship evolve naturally.
Giving Your Cat and A New Puppy Some Space
Most older cats want little or nothing to do with a new puppy. Occasionally, though, your cat and a new puppy may have some disagreements. Some cats will decide that this new noisy houseguest is not welcome and start to harass your canine addition.
Many times cats will become defensive when they feel that they cannot get away. If your cat is attacking or bothering your puppy, re-evaluate whether you have truly given them good escape routes and a safe space away from Fido. Having to get past a playful puppy to use the litter box or eat can create trouble, even if those resources are in a safe area.
It is also important to supervise initial interactions closely to allow intervention if aggression escalates. A well-fitted harness for your cat may be a great way to help you reinforce a “leave it” command.
If your cat is still bothering your new puppy, you may need to increase exercise for your kitty. Introduce some new toys and commit to a new kitty exercise routine.
Most of the time, a cat and a new puppy will be living harmoniously within a few weeks to a few months. If not, though, or if things seem to be escalating between the pair, please call us so that we can help.