Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How to Safely Introduce an Adopted Cat to Your Dog #FoodShelterLove

This post is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Food, Shelter, & Love Program, but Pawsitively Pets only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

For a couple of years, I've been scared to bring a new cat into my home because I wasn't sure how my dog would react. And I may not be the only person who's ever felt this way. Shiner, my dog, has lived with a cat before and they just never got along with each other. After a couple years of my cat's passing away, I had started to long for a feline companion again. I love cats, and growing up as a child my life was never complete without one.


In February, I adopted my sister-in-law's cat, Callie, from her. In my head, I was prepared for my dog's reaction to the cat and wanted to make sure that I introduced the two of them properly. I knew the road to introducing my dog and newly adopted cat might be bumpy and take some time, but I was dedicated to making it work.

What steps did I take to introduce my dog and cat? 

For the first few days of Callie coming to live with us, she stayed behind my couch. I wanted to keep her and Shiner separated as much as possible at first, and let Shiner get used to Callie's scent. Callie was already used to living with two dogs previously, thankfully. Actually, my dog really had no idea there was a cat behind the couch for a few days. She's definitely no scent-hound!

I purchased a kennel that Callie could safely relax in while Shiner was in the same room with her. Alternatively, if the dog and cat are in the same room with each other Callie can go to her safe spot that she likes behind the couch. 


I never leave the dog and cat in the same room with each other unattended. And if Callie makes an appearance while Shiner is in the same room, I monitor very closely. Our introduction process is slow and it's taking some time for us, but we are making progress. I have patience, which I believe is very important during the process. 

Our progress. 

About two weeks ago, Shiner was sitting on her spot on the couch asleep and Callie sauntered out. I was sitting on the couch across from Shiner, and Callie hopped up next to me. Shiner woke up a few minutes later and noticed the cat sitting there. 

The dog did not do anything and just sat there watching for a few minutes, and then went back about her business. Callie seemed completely calm too and continued laying next to me on the couch. This was a big step for the two of them, and I couldn't have been more pleased. I made sure to capture the moment on camera. 


They may not be sleeping together or cuddling in the same bed yet, but progress is progress and I am happy with each step they take towards becoming friends with each other one day. It may be a long road for us, but I won't give up!

Keeping your new cat healthy. 

I wanted to share this story to encourage others who might think they can't adopt a shelter cat or kitten because they think their dog will not get along with a cat. I just want to tell you that dogs and cats can live in harmony with each other and even become best friends. 


If you've never adopted a cat before just remember that while they may be similar to a dog, they are not exactly the same and need special care. 
  • Like dogs, cats need regular veterinary care to make sure they stay healthy. 
  • A cat might share a water bowl with your dog, but they do like fresh running water. Cats also absorb most of the water they need from their food. 
  • Cats need exercise too! I exercise with my cat by taking her for an occasional walk on a harness outside, playing with homemade toys, and giving her catnip. 
  • Dogs and cats BOTH benefit from proper introductions. 
  • Just like dogs, cats need proper nutrition to keep them healthy and strong. 
Speaking of proper nutrition, the Hill's®  Science Diet Food, Shelter & Love® program supplies more than 800 shelters nationwide to make sure cats in a shelter setting get the nutrition they need while waiting for their forever home. Through the Food, Shelter & Love program, Hill's has donated more than $240 million dollars worth of food to nearly 1,000 shelters across the country. The program has helped 8 million pets find a new home, and that number is growing. All pets deserve proper, balanced nutrition and a chance at finding a good home. 



A healthy cat is a happy cat, and that will make introductions so much easier. Even after a cat is adopted from the shelter, good nutrition should be maintained. 

Sometimes, the introduction process can be stressful and can cause occasional digestive disorder and even affect a pet's skin and coat. The Hill's Science Diet® Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin® pet food is available for both cats and dogs, and could help reduce stress during the introduction process. You can find Hill's Science Diet foods to purchase for both cats and dogs at Pet360.

If you're still unsure about adopting a cat from your local shelter, consider fostering first. This will give you a good idea of what to expect, and will really help out both the shelter and cat in need. 

For more information about introducing a new kitten to your home, here's an article from PetMD with some good tips. 

Have you ever adopted a cat? How did you introduce them to your dog? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

20 comments:

  1. I guess anything is possible when you have the right teacher! Kudos to you Ann for the patience, love and determination. Callie is so fortunate to have you and Shiner in her life now. I think she's an extremely attractive feline. The information you shared will help others I have no doubt.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's sink or swim at our house. New pets are simply plunked down, shown where the food, water, and bathroom areas are and then they are on their own. We have always worked it out amongst ourselves without any big problems. Kittens are much easier to bring in than adult cats, but the adult cats start exploring at night when we sleep and get comfortable fast that way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because of Shiner's past history with cats, I've got to work on it a little bit more with her. I've always thought that bringing a kitten in would be easier. I mean, she gets along with and has been great friends with rats and ferrets in the past so I know she can eventually become friends with a cat.

      Delete
  3. Like Emma said, it's a free-for-all in our house. Whenever we've brought in another pet, cat or dog, we just throw them in the mix and let them work it out. Thankfully it's always worked out. However, with Sassy it has been different because she is FIV+ and aggressive. She still lives separately from the others, but we are making progress. She can now be in the same room as Sophie, supervised of course. It has been a 1.5 year journey, and we still have a long way to go! Patience is key :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well good for Sophie! I know some cats can take a long time to adjust and have experienced that myself before. It's definitely worth the wait though :)

      Delete
  4. That was a very good post! Sometimes these things are easier than you think!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you - I am glad I finally decided to add a kitty to my life once again. I've missed having one so much and reading all these cat blogs only made me want one even more because you guys are just too cute!

      Delete
  5. Bentley might accept a cat, but Pierre would not be happy about it at all. BOL!

    ReplyDelete
  6. We're thinking about getting a dog but apprehensive as to what this would do to the resident cats.

    Emma and Buster

    ReplyDelete
  7. Shiner still ins’t convinced she wants Callie in the house? Tell her she doesn’t have a choice. Heh heh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MOL - That's what I have been telling her CK!

      Delete
  8. It looks like you are definitely heading down the right path with Shiner and Callie! So glad you were finally able to get that cat you were longing for and she sure is beautiful! Purrs from Deb and the Zee and Zoey Gang

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for the great post!
    Have a super Wednesday...

    Noodle and crewq

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great tips, Ann! It certainly sounds like you're doing everything the right way. :)

    Way to go, Shiner and Callie!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks so much for sharing these tips, Ann! Sounds like it is working for you!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. We've always had cats since we started having dogs, and they haven't always been best friends, but they've learned to live together. I'm glad you are taking it slowly and methodically with Callie and Shiner, and that things are working out.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh yes been there done that! My CWA pals that helped get Rhette to us said that you never let a dog approach a cat in a kennel as its seemed as predatory, but we never had an issue with it. Ours aren't sleeping together either but they do all have to have treats at the same time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with it being predatory, and Callie doesn't like it if Shiner comes up to the kennel if she's in it. So, I don't let Shiner go over there and bother her because I don't want it to be a negative experience. They had another good day yesterday, and Callie walked around the living room while Shiner sat on the couch. She seemed wary of the dog, but not too concerned so that's good.

      Delete

Thank you for your comments!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...