So, you're about to bring home a new kitten - exciting times! Well, for you, that is. For your doggo, this might not be the case. Being worried about expanding your fur-mily is perfectly normal. We'd be too if we had such pawsome pets!
When it comes to introducing cats to dogs, it's essential to start preparing early. This is especially true when you've got a younger kitty on your hand. The good news is that cats and dogs living together peacefully can arguably be more comfortable to achieve when introducing a kitten to a dog. The reason for this is that your kitten has less "baggage".
On the other hand, it can also be trickier. Your doggo may get over-excited with their new fur-end, and due to their teeny size, your kitty may get the fright of their life! Thankfully, we're seasoned pros at this. Learning how to introduce a kitten to a dog doesn't have to be a headache with these top tips.
HOW TO INTRODUCE A KITTEN TO A DOG IN A FEW SIMPLE STEPS:
Many dogs and cats can live together as besties when introduced correctly and under the right supervision. Before getting into our trusty tips, we just want to remind you that all good things take time. Don't get discouraged if your furry friends don't see eye-to-eye straight away - slow and steady wins the race!
Step 1: Start Early
Getting a head start in your introductions is key to understanding how to get a dog to accept a kitten. The goal here is to get your dog fur-miliar with your kitten before they come home. By the time you're ready to welcome home your latest addition, your dog won't be startled by their new fur-ends presence.
The best way to achieve this is through scent. Whether you're adopting a kitten or getting one straight from a breeder, we recommend asking the breeder or shelter if you can leave a blanket with your new pal. The blanket should be used in the kitten's basket or in their play area, as long as they're getting all cozy!
A few days before you're ready to bring home your new cat, collect the blanket, and let your dog explore its smell. This will make a huge difference when it comes to the two furbabies finally meeting!
Step 2: Create a Safe Space for Your Cat
One of the best ways to prepare for your new arrival is to ensure that they have a secure place to rest and get comfortable with their surroundings. This room should contain the cat's litter box as well as their food and water. Of course, a comfy place to sleep is needed too!
Step 3: Dog Proof, Dog Proof, Dog Proof!
After you've set up your cat's new room, it's key to remember the room's safety aspect. Chances are, your kitty will want to explore freely and enjoy their new surroundings without a curious doggo barging through. As excited as your dog may be to meet their new fur-end, you must respect your cat's boundaries and help them feel as safe as possible.
That's where Door Buddy's dog proof door latch comes in. Instead of closing the door and risk frightening your kitty or having to constantly check in on the frequent meowing, we have a more comfortable solution. Our adjustable door strap installs in seconds and requires absolutely no tools or complicated installations. By adding our latch to your door, your cat can come and go as they please while your doggo is firmly kept outside the room.
Step 4: Encourage Scent Swapping
We've spoken about swapping scents before in our post about introducing cats to your home. The reason we're bringing it up again is because it works! Supervising a quick scent swap is a great way for your doggo and kitten to safely get to know each other. It only takes a few minutes too!
Try feeding your kitten and dog on either side of the door so that they can get a good whiff on each other before meeting. Again, a Door Buddy will be extremely useful here! Your doggo may whine, scratch, or bark at the door, and it's best to try to avoid this where possible.
Step 5: Let Them Meet in Person
With scents firmly swapped and safety zones confidently established, you can start to help pave the way for cats and dogs living together. How to get your dog to accept a kitten is easy when you take your time and supervise at all times. When you're ready to let them meet in person, supervision is key!
There are several ways that you can start introducing your kitten to your dog. You can try through a doorway where the small crack in the door will help keep your dog stay at a safe length away. Alternatively, you can try keeping them both on a leash and slowly let them discover each other's scents.
Whichever method you choose, we recommend starting small and working your way up. You can start by doing this for a few minutes every day. As they get more comfortable with one another, you can extend this time and eventually work your way up to unleashed visits.
Step 5: Don't Give Up
Although it may be tempting to give up out of frustration and impatience, try to keep your goal of cats and dogs living together harmoniously in mind. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and your fur-babies' relationship may take some time too.
Make sure to pay careful attention to both your cat and dog's body language during this time. This will be a clear indication of how they're feeling and how secure they are in freely exploring their new pal. As you start to let the two fur-ends spend more time together, they will eventually begin to ease up and relax into a fur-endship.
Learning how to introduce a kitten to a dog can be a huge feat to accomplish. As you can probably already tell, it isn't always as easy as bringing your cat home and wishing for the best.
In fact, if things get a little tricky, we highly recommend consulting a behavioral specialist. This may be your best bet in getting the right game plan for how to get your dog to accept a kitten.