As is known, many homes have dogs and cats that live peacefully and in some cases are even great friends.

But this is not the case of Quica, an aristocratic Persian cat from Belgrano who lived very comfortably with her human parents, and to whom they brought a new little brother to the house, Timothy, a powerful Neapolitan Mastin with a beautiful and thick hair between brown and grey who took charge of disrupting her quiet existence.

Their human parents had not thought that adaptation could be so difficult, what happened is that both animals suffered several months of stress, until they could find a veterinarian prepared in animal adaptation, who helped them slowly improve that bond.

What happened is that the lack of knowledge about the adaptation and planning periods prior to the arrival of a new pet in your home made Quica a stressful experience and Timothy a little warm welcome to his new home. We add to this that the period in which we introduce our current pet to the new member of the family must also take our measures.

Such unprepared interactions can be even dangerous, especially for the cat, some dogs have never had contact with a cat, and do not know how to behave, others even see them as prey and chase them, which, as you can imagine, is not a good first step to a long-term relationship. We will see in the following recommendations how we can proceed so that Quica and Timothy do not happen to us and that we can carry out a happy adaptation.

Start to socialize, The sooner the Better

Regardless of their predetermined roles as natural adversaries, some dogs and cats can become best friends. If you want your dog and your cat to get along how ideal it would be that your puppy begins to socialize with cats during its sensitive period that is Starting from the third week.

for cats the ideal would be between 2 and 7 weeks of life so there is the best time to expose dogs (safely, of course). In general, pets that access an early socialization, in the future, will have fewer or none problems to adapt to coexistence with a dog or cat, and this is due to the first positive interactions we have achieved.

Start with the right paw

Regardless of the age of your pets or the level of socialization, we must take precautions when introducing the new family member. This period can last from a few hours to even days or weeks. This will depend on the personality, temperament, upbringing and characteristics of each of your pets.

As normally the dog is usually the greatest threat of both (except in the case of puppies), it is important that in these first encounters you have your leash and your collar, and that you have used it to use it either for training or daily walks, In turn it should be accustomed to receiving orders such as sitting or being calm.

If your new pet is a cat, keep in mind that they usually perceive much more the environment, sound, aromas, etc. That is why it is advisable to separate them as much as possible and give them their own place with their bed and food to acclimatize it and to sit on their own terms, as it is how they prefer to do things.

How to present your cat with a new dog

The first thing you need to do, which is how Quica´s parents should have facilitated to her, is to grant multiple exits and escapes for your cat from potential attacks, shelves out of reach of your dog, doors, windows or raised armchairs where he can feel comfortable.

Then you need to take your dog on a leash, and do not allow it to be thrown on the cat. If possible, let the cat be the first to make the movement, whether it moves towards your dog or distances itself from it. Watch the reaction of your dog, if you notice tension, aggressiveness, barks or moans or wants to pounce on it, means that it is applying its hunting instinct and we must find another way to present them.

If the dog seems calm, take it away from the cat and remove the leash with caution, seek to distract it, with a toy, or with simple orders such as sitting or paw, what we are looking for is to focus on you and not the cat, reward it when focusing on you with a prize or a walk so he knows it’s on the right path. Prevent your dog from cornering your cat at all times.

How to present your dog with a new cat

Once you have decided what space you will give the new kitten, and he knows his “safe area”, with his sandbox, clothes, toys, scratching post, food and water and a place to hide, and all the things that belong to him. He will be able to venture out and explore the rest of the house.

I recommend that you take the cat directly to its new area, and close the door to that room so that your dog does not try to investigate immediately. As he feels comfortable there, you can leave the door open by putting the baby doors, this will allow him to go out and enter when he considers it, and in turn will feel protected but not isolated.

Introduce the other human members of the household to the kitten, ideally this happens when the kitten ventures to investigate on their own. Try to make the atmosphere calm, and with low levels of stress, so as not to frighten or stress the kitten even more.

Ideally, the cat gets acquainted with the dog on its own terms, do not expect this to be a quick process, it can take even months, try not to force the interaction and give it its times.

What if the plan doesn’t work? We changed the Plan, but not the Goal

Even when we did everything right, there is no guarantee that your dog and cat will instantly become friends. If they do not get along, you can try to familiarize them gradually in a neutral environment, with your cat with access to their safe room and your dog under the control of their leash. If both pets are calm, reward them with their favorite prize and positive attention.

Repeat this frequently to gradually reduce the physical distance between them and increase the amount of time they spend together. The goal is to bring them to a point where they can coexist in peace.

As your dog becomes more familiar with having a cat nearby, it may lose interest in its presence. What you should do next is allow supervised interactions.

If you notice signs of aggression from your dog towards your cat, or your cat shows signs of stress when it is near your dog, you should separate them for a while before trying again. You can consult a professional who will surely help you overcome this period.

In some cases they will end up ignoring each other, or in extreme cases you will have to find a home for the new dog or cat. But we must also say, that in many cases cats and dogs get along well from the beginning after a short period of adaptation, so put in place that plan and successes!

Written by Raul of Team Barki

Dra Karen Becker, Holistic Veterinary.
Juan Pablo and Belen the Popes of Quica and Timothy Thank you for sharing your History!

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