Introducing your new puppy to your cat

Although dogs and cats are often portrayed as enemies, if introduced carefully they can become friends or, at the very least, live in harmony. 

Preparation is key, so making sure you’re ready for your new arrival can help make both pets more comfortable in what can be an unsettling time for them.

  1. Safe space: Your cat will need a safe space that your pup can’t get to. This should include their bed, litter tray, water and food, as well as spaces high up that they can escape to, such as cat trees or high shelves. It can also help to have a crate for your puppy, so they can sneak away for some time out should they need it. 
  2. Scent swapping is a great way to get both pets used to each other’s smell, even before they meet. Take an item of clothing that smells of your cat to your puppy’s breeder or rescue centre so they can get used to their smell and ask for one in return to take home to your cat.
  3. Take your time: Collection day is super exciting, but keeping your puppy and cat separate for the first few days will help ensure they are both ready for those first introductions. 
  4. Feliway diffusers help cats feel more at ease with changes to their environment.
  5. First meet: Your cat and puppy’s first meet should be behind a stairgate. Try and stay as relaxed as you can and pick an area where your cat can easily run to their safe space if they’re worried.
  6. Encourage calm behaviour:  Keeping your puppy as calm as possible is important, so keep them on a lead behind a stairgate and praise them for calm behaviour by giving tasty treats. Allow your cat to approach the stairgate in their own time.
  7. Keep meets short: Keep interactions short, do them several times and don’t rush. Once they’re comfortable in one another’s company, then you can allow them to interact more freely with a looser lead and careful supervision. 
  8. No chasing! : Don’t let your puppy chase even if you think they’re only playing, your cat won’t understand this. If your cat or puppy look worried of one another, then go back a step. Remember that building relationships takes time and will be worth it in the end. 

For more information about cats and dogs living happily together.

— Page last updated 26/05/2023