Hi! I was really careful to get a dog who was good with other pets
because we already had a cat. Well, my dog likes the cat BUT the cat
doesn’t like the dog. She growls when the puppy is near. Is there
anything I can do?
In a previous column I discussed introducing a new cat to a household where a cat already lives. Believe it or not, successfully introducing a dog or puppy to a house with an established cat is not that different. The trick is to go slowly.
Cats are creatures of habit. They instinctively dislike any change in their lives, such as moving houses, going to a boarding facility, or adding a new pet to the family. It takes time for them to get used to these changes.
Your cat views the house as her own. She likely considers the puppy as an interloper in her territory. As well, the rambunctious behavior of puppies is a considerable affront to the dignified sensibilities of most cats.
The good news is that ultimately, dogs and cats who live together usually get along splendidly, and I have seen countless examples of dogs and cats who are firm and fast friends. However, it takes time for this relationship to develop.
As I mentioned above, I recommend that you make the process of introduction a slow one. The two pets do not need to come face to face at first. Believe me, they will both know the other one is in the house.
When it is time for them to meet in “person,” I recommend that you keep the puppy restrained on a leash.
Give the cat time to adjust to the presence of the dog in the room, and let the cat be the one to approach the dog. If the dog is allowed free access to the cat, his exuberant efforts to meet her may result in an injury such as a damaging claw to the eye.
Finally, be patient. It could take weeks or longer for the cat to approach the dog. But take comfort in the fact that over time, the two pets probably will learn to live together as friends.