Don’t let the old adage, “fighting like cats and dogs” fool you. Cats and dogs can coexist quite happily if introduced properly and given time to acclimate to each other. If you are going to bring a new animal into the home, whether it is feline or canine, the first thing to do is let the established pet know a new companion is coming. Since they know what we’re thinking (they are tuned into us all the time), they already know something is about to happen. Respect your animals’ intelligence and sensitivity by telling them what changes are about to occur.
If it fits with your life style, the newcomer should be younger than your established pet. An already established pet is less likely to be aggressive towards a juvenile animal.
If you have a playful dog as your alpha pet, introducing an equally playful kitten is a good idea. Keep them separated for several days, allowing them to sense and smell each other through a door. Feed them on opposite sides of the door so they can share pleasurable experiences without having to manage face to face encounters.
Pay more attention to the established pet than the new one. Like human children, pets get jealous when a new animal comes into the home. You want to reassure you dog or cat that she is still a valued member of the family. If you can, allow your established pet to claim the newcomer as their own. If she thinks you got a kitten for her, you may find that she will get very maternal, and eventually groom and protect the baby.
When the face-to-face introduction takes place, put your dog/cat and kitten/puppy on leashes and be patient. Give the established pet lots of praise and gentle petting for good behavior. Make sure the kitten has a place to retreat if chased, as some dogs may be a little overly enthusiastic. Supervise their time together until you’re certain both of them are comfortable and safe with each other.
Above all, your consistency and patience must prevail. This “introduction” may take several weeks before you establish peaceful coexistence.
An animal communication session can help ease the transition for both animals and their human companions. The animals have a chance to be heard, and you can relay your feelings and expectations to them. Call or e-mail for a session: firstname.lastname@example.org, 410-486-4849
Remember: dogs and cats can coexist happily as long as human caretakers take steps to bring them together with love and patience.