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Introducing two cats to a friendly dog

April 28th, 2008, 05:18 AM
Hi there,

Here is the situation.

I have two cats. One is 5 years old and one is a year old. They get along fine. When I introduced them to each other I went "by the book" per say and all went well.

I now have just moved into a house with my best friend who has a 4 year old Bernese Mountain Dog.

This has caused a couple of concerns.

1. My cats much adjust to their new surroundings.

2. My cats must adjust to their new surroundings PLUS a new dog.

This dog is very friendly and has been around cats her entire life. I am not concerned about the dog attacking my cats, nonetheless, I am worried that my cats will not adjust well to the change and hide etc...etc...

Of course I want what everyone wants - for them just to all get along!

I have read a few websites around introducing cats to a dog and vise versa but it seems that usually the dog is not familiar with cats. My situation seems a little bit different, so I'm not sure if I should take the same steps.

Currently my cats are in my bedroom with their food and litter box and some toys. When my friend is away she puts the dog in her bedroom so my cats can roam (which they did the first night, but since hearing the dog, they really haven't any longer). When my friend is home, my cats are in my room.

Tonight I left my door of my bedroom open a crack. I'm wondering if that was a smart idea or not. The dog has not even attempted to go in the bedroom to look for my cats. She seems not to care at all, but still my cats are afraid of her.

Any suggestions? What steps should I take to make this process of a new home and a new animal in the house go as smoothly as possible?

April 28th, 2008, 05:51 AM
I think the secret with cats is to ensure the first couple of meetings are kept calm and keep the dog from chasing the cats and have the cats approach the dog on their terms.

Others on this board have been through this and will be able to give you more advice.

April 28th, 2008, 02:25 PM
Mosts cats need time (often months) to adjust to any new environment; since there is a dog to contend with as well, it tends to make things more complicated.

Using baby gates or crates can often help when you are introducing the animals to each other. Your cats should be allowed to roam but its imperative that they always have an escape (baby gate, cat tree, tunnel, perch etc...). Its a good idea to set-up a gate so your cats can get to your room but the dog cannot, you should be able to remove this once your cats are settled (assuming the dog remains indifferent to them). Once you start leaving your door open 24/7 so the cats can explore at their own pace with the safety net of a gate, I'm sure they will adjust.

I have used my dog a lot around frightened felines (he is calm, obedient and simply adores cats). If your friend's BMD has a similar temperment, you can try and orchestrate a meeting (ie: dog in down stay while you bring your cats out).
I would also leave your cats food/water bowls by your door (once you have a gate in place) to encourage them to explore.

Good Luck and let us know how it goes!

April 29th, 2008, 07:28 PM
Thanks for the suggestions! I appreciate it.