Proper Dog-Cat Introductions

How do I introduce my dog to a new cat I'm getting from the shelter? From the Internet

Dear Dog (and-soon-to-be-cat) Lover:

Prior to introducing your dog to a cat from the shelter, it would be helpful to learn if this cat came from a home with dogs in it. It may also be useful to observe your dog's interaction with other cats (maybe test him out on a leash with friends' or neighbors' cats).

If your new cat's previous history is unavailable, you should proceed slowly with the introduction. It is imperative that very early in their relationship that you establish cat chasing as an unacceptable behavior. Your dog will most likely be "just playing," but even "play" cat chases can result in serious injury to both pets.

It is also paramount that until you are completely confident in their mutual respect for one another that you do not leave them unattended.

Even though you are trying to integrate your pets, they should retain some autonomy. For instance, your cat should be fed and watered in an area away from your dog. And vice versa. Sometimes it's beneficial to build a raised platform for your cat's litter box and food, thus making it harder for a dog to reach.

Although it falls in the offensive and repugnant category, many dogs like to pillage the litter box for treats. An elevated platform may prevent this and afford the cat some privacy.

It may take some time and effort to establish a symbiosis within your household, but it is possible. Remember to try and make extra quality time with your dog, thereby avoiding the "broken nose" syndrome. Also, you must accept the fact that your pets may never attain relative intimacy. They may agree to disagree and essentially ignore each other. Although the latter may not be your true intention, it does not detract from the relationship you have with them individually.

Dr. M. C. Lane