Give your cat its own territory
It’s important that your cat has a space in your house that is all theirs. Having this space will be especially important when introducing your pets to one another for the first time, but will also continue to act as a refuge they can use when they need to escape and enjoy some downtime. If you live in a small space, don’t worry about limiting the space your dog has access to. Since cats are natural climbers, you can make use of any vertical space in your house, whether it be a cat tree or newly installed shelving. Both of these are perfect spots for your cat to be able to observe your dog from a comfortable distance.
You may need to make physical changes to your living space to help your cat or dog adjust to their new roommate.
Even the most friendly pets can be thrown off by a new family member moving into their home.
“Think about any adjustments you will need to make to accommodate your new pet, like moving the litter box or food bowl or adding extra hiding spaces, and do them before bringing your new [pet] home,” said DiCicco.
She also said cats love having routines, so you may want to prepare them in advance for any changes that come with bringing a dog home, like a new feeding schedule or rearranged furniture.
Both dogs and cats need their own space to de-stress.
“[Like people], most cats and dogs enjoy a mix of socializing and time spent alone… be sure to give each animal a private space to rest and enjoy quiet time,” DiCicco told Insider.
“A handy trick is to use baby gates to give each pet an area of complete separation, allowing the new pet privacy and space to settle in,” she added.
How to Introduce Dogs & Cats SAFELY What to AVOID
Some dogs do fine living with cats; others simply cannot live safely with felines. Sometimes, a dog can live with certain cats (depending on their age, temperament and activity level), but not others. Even if your dog has successfully lived with cats in the past, it is important to remember that each dog and each cat is an individual and therefore each introduction is different.