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Introducing my new kitten to my dog

November 16th, 2010, 12:00 PM
Hi everyone!

My husband got me a new kitten as a graduation present on Saturday. Our dog Indica was away for the weekend with a family friend and she just came home today. Oliver, the kitten, does not seem to like her at all. We let him out of the bedroom and he would slowly get closer and closer to Indy until he could hiss and swipe at her. Every time he sees her he gets all puffed up and hissy. I know this is just the first day and I'm not expecting them to get along right off the bat, but I'm stressed about it because I want them both to be happy and well adjusted. Indy is a boston terrier, so she's not very big and she's as friendly as they come. She just wants to be friends with Oliver but he's not having any of it yet.

I was just wondering if anyone has any tips on introducing a new kitten to a dog. Also, Indy always sleeps with us and while she was away, Oliver slept with us. I'm worried about tonight when they have to find a place to sleep. If anyone has any idad on how to make the whole transition easier, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

November 16th, 2010, 12:43 PM
Introduction should be a very slow process and not rushed in order to succeed.

The main question is of course if your dog is cat savvy. If not, then I hope that your are well versed on reading body language and signals.

I have many dogs (mine and fosters) and many cats (mine and fosters). For every new cat coming into my home they are not given free access to my home nor are they introduced immediately with any dog nor cat. The new cat is put into a comfortable spare bedroom with the door closed. This way, the dogs and cats will get familiar with the scent of the other new addition. This goes both ways of course. This usually goes for a minimum of one week without any animals having direct interaction. Once I see that neither of the animals are reacting to the door being opened and closed, I will put up a baby gate and monitor the initial reactions of the animals. All this is done under supervision. This way they can safely interact with another with the gate to separate them and again it is observed and supervised by myself during these brief encounters. This goes on once again for another week unless things go incredibly well. Once you are comfortable you can leave the gate up so that the cat can go to his/her safe place if they feel insecure. I would not leave them alone for sometime until you can see that there is no dangers for either animal...namely the cat.

Good luck.

November 16th, 2010, 01:00 PM
Yes my dog was raised around cats as a puppy, so she is familiar with them. I currently have the kittn in the bedroom away from the dog, with all of his toys, food and litter box. He seems to be perfectly happy in there. I will keep them separated for a while and hopfully sleeping wont be an issue.

November 16th, 2010, 01:57 PM
Recently we have started bringing our old lab into the house at night to sleep. She won't come in during the summer, preferring to spend her nights under the stars. I "forgot" with our houseful of kitties that I had one kitten who had never met Sammy. Dart, now approx 5 months and about 4 pounds , came to me at the first of the summer when Sammy was sleeping outside. I was sitting in the living room wondering why I was hearing growling and hissing and it struck me. Dart was in the kitchen backed into a corner (his choice) and doing his level best to intimidate a 90 pound 13 year old lab! I spoke softly to Dart telling him it was ok, picked him up (not recommended but I know my cats pretty well) and removed him from what he perceived as a huge danger. Poor ol' Sammy was looking at me with wounded eyes wondering what the heck she had done. Her arthritis is getting so bad she can hardly move let alone put the run on an upstart kitten. That was about a week and a half ago. Now they are at the point where Dart will come up behind Sammy and sniff at her and then go on to do his own thing. He has even been known to come sniff at her front legs. :thumbs up Sammy couldn't care less. She's just happy to be in where it's warm.

Now that being said -
One of the most important things to do is to make sure your kitten is always given a high spot to escape to if he feels threatened.
Think of it from the kitten's point of view. New house, new people, then you spring what is, in his eyes, a mortal enemy on him. Of course there is going to be hissing and puffiness. Completely normal. This is called posturing and can go on for quite some time.
The most important thing you can do for your kitty's well being is to make sure you never leave him alone with the dog until you are 150% sure they will get along all the time. Until then keep the kitty's room available to him so he can have a safe place to go.
When doing an intro with a cat and dog remember you can't control a cats' action. You can a dogs'. The dog should be put on a leash and watched so there is no sudden lunging that will startle the kitten. This sometimes helps a lot.

Here's a couple of sites to read. Maybe they will help.

November 16th, 2010, 03:12 PM
Thank you this has been very helpful.

November 17th, 2010, 02:26 PM
OK, so my mom brought over a baby gate for us to try. I figured I would give it a try today since Oliver seems to want to get out of the bedroom so badly. Every time I open the door he wants to come out, and when I'm not in here with him he jst cries and cries. I put the baby gate up and let the dog come over to see him. He tried to attack her through the gate. He really wants to come out into the living room, but every time he sees the dog he wants to attack her. I'm more worried about Indy than the kitten at this point and he is able to jump over the baby gate. I feel so bad keeping him in the bedroom away from us because I can't spend all my time in there with him, I have to clean and do laundry and Indy needs attention too. Is it common for the kitten to be the aggressive one? How should I proceed?

November 17th, 2010, 04:37 PM
Is it common for the kitten to be the aggressive one? Yes
How should I proceed?
Did you read the websites I gave you? Are you following them? Two days is not enough time for a kitten to accept a dog. It may take a couple of weeks. It may take months. The biggest thing you need is patience. Lots and lots of patience. Watch them closely. If you see signs of stress in the kitten take him gently back to his room. Give him time to settle. Try again. That's what it is going to take to have a successful bonding later. But you need more than two days to achieve it. Proceed slowly. Never rush. :thumbs up

Dog Dancer
November 17th, 2010, 04:50 PM
You can trust anything that 14+ suggests to you. She is one of our kitty guru's here at pets. 14+ is really more like 50+ kitties at her kitty rescue/home. She has taken many feral cats and integrated them well with the others and integrated stray kitties with her dogs. What she tells you is tried and true from her own experience. Patience, patience, patience. It's been many years since I had kitties and pups, but it can be done. Good luck to you.

November 18th, 2010, 12:02 PM
Thanks, I was just getting stressed out because I want both animals to be happy and well adjusted. Last night we made some amazing progress, and they are now able to be in the same room together. The kitten now generally ignores the dog and goes on playing. Sometimes he wants to come check the dog out, but we discourage it if it looks like he's afraid or agressive. He even got close enough to stand on her with his from paws and smell her last night while she was sleeping. I did read those web pages, but I just wanted to make sure I was doing everything right in terms of the kitten wanting to go and explore. I didn't know whether I should keep them separated for more time, or let him explore. We figured if he wanted to come out so badly maybe we should let him, but just keep him away from the dog for the time being. It went really well and I couldn't have asked for more at this point. Thanks for all the tips and advice, we are making great progress and soon I'm sure I will have pics of them together to post.

November 18th, 2010, 12:06 PM
:thumbs up Great news! Let them set the pace. I'm sure they will. Just please never ever force them together. That could be disastrous!

November 18th, 2010, 12:09 PM
:thumbs up Great news! Let them set the pace. I'm sure they will. Just please never ever force them together. That could be disastrous!

I agree. The interaction must never be pushed. They will settle in their own time. Please make sure to always supervise interactions.

November 18th, 2010, 12:21 PM
Yes definitely. I just had to put the kitten in his room because he was getting a little too feisty and it was making me nervous. I think he just wants to play with the dog now, but she's not quite ready for that. But it's going really well all things considered. They are setting the pace and I couldn't be happier.

Dog Dancer
November 18th, 2010, 04:53 PM
Big Yay on that!