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NCSPCA 4/3

Last week, the NCSPCA highlighted some interesting facts about dog intelligence. Our focus this week is the intelligence of cats. Your finicky feline may be more like you than you know, based on the information that follows.

One of my friends who has had two cats for several years recently asked me if I felt it would be possible to integrate a dog into the home. There are far more resources discussing how to introduce new cats to a resident dog, but I was able to find these words of wisdom from about.com.

The first thing to consider is the personality of your dog. Dogs that tend to be predatory or aggresive will generally not integrate well into your cat-run household. In addition, declawed, older, and handicapped cats, as well as small kittens, run the risk of being injured - even if the dog is only attempting to play. You will need to have a good understanding of your dog's and cat's moods, to determine whether the introduction is flowing relatively smoothly, or if you have a potentially explosive situation on your hands. Make sure your dog is well trained and will listen to your commands.

It's a good idea to make sure your dog has been exercised and fed before the first meeting, and that your cat is in a carrier if she is inclined to frighten easily; if not, she can be free to walk around. Keeping cat treats handy may help. Make sure your dog is on a short leash. If your dog bolts toward your cat, stop him with the leash and calm him, or try the visit later. Repeat short visits several times a day. With a little luck and patience, your pets will learn to tolerate each other and possibly become friends! For more in-depth information, please see cats.about.com.

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