Cohabitation between a cat and a new puppy

A kitten and puppy playing together outside

Welcoming a new pet when you already live with one can be painstakingly difficult, especially if it’s between a cat and a puppy. In this article, we’ll share a few tips to help you make the cohabitation run as smoothly as possible.

A warm and inviting environment

For the cohabitation between your cat and puppy run as smoothly as possible, it’s best to prepare the arrival of your new pet beforehand.

Prepare your cat for the arrival of your new puppy

It’s best to prepare your cat before the arrival of your new companion. In general, cats are extremely attached to their houses, sometimes even more than they are attached to their owners. They won’t stop at anything to protect their territory.

As soon as you are sure that you are going to adopt a dog, you can buy their bowl and leash before they arrive. You can also pet your cat more often and let them look at and smell the toys and accessories that you bought. If they notice all of these small changed in your house beforehand, they might have an easier time accepting the presence of a new puppy.

Don’t overlook an introduction

The day of the arrival of your new puppy, you might be tempted to keep your cat away for the new puppy for a bit. You might do this because you want you dog to explore their new home. However, it’s important to introduce the two animals. This shows your puppy that while they are arriving to their new home, they are also arriving to a home where a cat lives as well.

In addition, as soon as your dog arrives, you can search for your cat and put them in the same room. It’s best not to hold your cat in your arms during this introduction. This could cause your cat to panic and become aggressive. The best thing for you to do with your cat is to let them be, all while keeping an eye on their behavior. You can also place barriers between them so that you can introduce them to each other without the risk of any of them getting hurt.

To avoid an attack between your cat and your defenseless puppy, it can be useful to separate them. With that being said, it is very important to show your cat that it’s still their house and that their new friend is kind and does not want to steal their place. Petting them in front of each other will make it easier for them to get along and make it less likely for them to be jealous of one another.

Spend time with the both of them

Cohabitation between a cat and a puppy is not always easy. Nevertheless, if you take the time to spend time with them, it will be much easier. The idea is to give attention to both of them. Playing and bonding with each pet is necessary to avoid useless fights. Outside of this one-on-one time, you should also spend time with them when they are together so that they can start to accept each other. If your cat does not like seeing their owner playing with another animal, they will get used to it little by little.

Some cats feel threatened by the arrival of a puppy to their house. They might stare at the puppy, while keeping away from you and ignoring you. They just need some time to get used to it. Try to spend time bonding with your cat without forcing them. Behave like you normally would so that they feel safer.

A kitten taking a nap with a dog
A kitten and puppy taking a nap together.

Rearrange your house for a harmonious cohabitation

It’s important that each pet has their own space.

Your cat: provide them with a calm space that it high up

When a cat is no longer the only pet in the house, they can feel frustrated. They could feel like they are losing control of their living space. This can make the cohabitation difficult. The best solution is to find a space that is completely dedicated to them. It will allow to have a space where they can stay calm while your puppy is running around. A room or a corner in the living room, no matter what it is, your cat needs a space that only they have access to. Ideally, you can opt for a comfortable space high up in the living room.

Your cat will be able to keep their eyes on the puppy and feel like they are still in control. It will also help them sleep more serenely. In addition, cats love being high up because it wakes up their predatory instincts. If you cannot offer this luxury, a cat tree that out of reach of the puppy is perfect. The most important thing is to allow your cat to keep their eyes on what is happening around them. Little by little, they will learn to let go and might even end up sleeping next to your new pet.

Your puppy: provide them with an area where they can relax

When it comes to your new puppy, depending on the breed, they will generally have a lot of energy. For the cohabitation to run smoothly, they need to be able to play alone or with you. It’s best for them to play in an area that is all for them and where they can feel safe. It’s important to keep in mind that your puppy is even more stressed than your cat. Because they do not understand all of the dangers, they can get hurt. Provide your puppy with a spot where they can eat, play, and sleep.

It’s also not recommended to place the food bowls of the two pets close to one another. Keep your dog’s food bowl on the ground and place your cat’s in a high place. In addition, do not place the litter box next to where your dog is sleeping. When puppies are still small, they could risk eating your cat’s excrements.

How long will it take for my cat and puppy to adapt?

It can be more difficult for your cat to accept their new companion, as they have been there longer. The adaptation period could take hours, days, or weeks. It will take time and it will depend on the personality of each pet. Some animals will surprise you by being close from the very beginning, then reject them a few days later. For others, on the other hand, the phenomena can be the complete opposite. No matter the order in which it happens and the time it takes, do not worry. Your new puppy and cat will end up getting used to one another.

You might also like reading this article: Welcoming a new puppy to your home