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kerrie11 July 24th, 2003 08:12 PM

Intro'ing a kitten & dog together...
My husband & I have a 4 1/2 month old kitten that lives with us in our apartment. We also have a 5 year old chocolate lab that has been living with my parents due to apartment restrictions.

Next month, we are moving to our new house & we are planning on bringing both pets to live with us. Neither one of them has had much, if any, exposure to the other kind of animal (meaning cat to dog & dog to cat).

Its been suggested that we give each animal something that smells like the other animal about a week prior so that they adjust to one another's smell.

Beyond that, what is the best way for us to introduce them to one another? Do we bring them both to the "neutral" new house at the same time? Do we try introducing them in a separate location & then bring them to the house? Do we bring one to the new house for a period of time & then bring the other?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! I want them to tolerate & maybe even like one another someday.

Thank you!

Lucky Rescue July 24th, 2003 11:10 PM

I foster cats and kittens, and have a 70lb pit bull, so have done quite a bit of introductions. My latest was introducing my dog to a full grown feral tomcat!

Can you bring the dog to your place for a visit to see how the dog will react to a cat? Some dogs are very predatory towards cats and can never be trusted with them.

What I do is put the cat or kitten in a spare bedroom for a few days until it's used to it's new home and feels secure. I then put up a baby gate in the doorway, raised high enough off the floor so that the kitten can get under it, but not the dog. If you think the dog might go over the gate or knock it down, wire the door so that it opens only wide enough to admit the cat.

The kitten will feel much braver, knowing it has a "safe" place to retreat to.

You can take your dog on leash to the kitten's room and let the dog see it and smell, but do not allow him to lunge. If he does, say "No cat!" and correct him. As soon as he turns to look at you,praise and give him a treat. Never allow the dog to chase the cat, as this is very fun for the dog and he will want to do it whenever he can.

Your aim is to make him know that trying to chase the cat gets him only negative things, and that ignoring the cat gets him treats, praise and/or a favorite toy. Since dogs do only what works for them, he should soon catch on.

This advice is only applicable if your dog is not aggressive or predatory towards the cat. My dog is totally unaggressive to cats, so this method works fine for me. As soon as the kitten/cat realizes my dog will not chase them, they overcome their fear rapidly.

Of course, it's much easier with a kitten like yours.

Oh, one other thing - I would move the cat into the house first, so the dog does not feel so territorial about having another animal brought in after he has "staked his claim".

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