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Hello Mr. Dog, My Name Is Ms. Cat: Can We Be Friends?

When Jon adopted Odie, Garfield wasn’t all that thrilled. Of course, that was just a cartoon, but the reactions between the goofy dog and the opinionated cat mirror some of the reactions seen in the real world. When you introduce a new dog into a home that already has a resident cat, be prepared for attitude. The same goes for bringing a new cat to meet your dog. Introducing the pair gradually and making sure they are supervised will minimize the chance of either getting hurt.

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Every animal has its own personality. Some resident cats are social and don’t mind having other animals in the house. Others “rule the roost” as they say, and let you know they aren’t pleased when you bring in an “intruder.” Likewise, dogs also have various degrees of cat tolerance. Some will welcome a new cat or kitten, while others will display signs of aggression, either by growling or intensely staring at the new arrival.

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The introduction is the first crucial test. First, confine each animal in their own space, preferably in separate rooms. That way they can get used to each other’s scent. Observing their reactions at this stage can give you an idea if this pairing is going to work. Keep them separated until they feel comfortable enough to eat and sleep normally.

The face-to-face meetings should be in a controlled environment. Let the cat get comfortable in the room. He’ll probably settle down on a favorite sofa or chair. Be sure your dog responds to simple ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘leave it’ commands.

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Put on his leash, then lead him to a quiet corner of the room and have him sit or lie down, away from the cat. Limit the time the two are together and observe their reactions. Repeat the supervised introductions until the two animals are comfortable with each other and don’t show signs of fear or aggression.With proper preparation, owners can work to create a safe and happy experience for their pets. Read more tips for adding a new pet to your home.

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