North Country SPCA

Many of us have homes in which we have both dogs and cats who, if not living in harmony, at least learn to tolerate each other reasonable well. What is the secret? Mary Anne Miller, free-lance writer and member of the Cat Writers Association, provides some helpful hints. First, since you cannot control a cat, focus on controlling the dog's behavior. Consider the breed of dog you are working with, and be sure that he is obedience trained. Be aware that puppies can easily become overexcited, and hurt a cat unintentionally.

Before you arrange your first meeting, take your dog for a walk and give him some exercise. When you bring him home, provide a favorite toy and be sure that he is on a choke collar rather so that you can control him when he meets the cat. He should be tired but relaxed. Place him in a large room, at the end of the room farthest from the door, and instruct him to "stay down." He should be on a choke collar with a leash so that you can control him.

Have someone else bring the cat into the room, and set her at the farthest end of the room from the dog. The cat may spit, hiss, and run for the room, or may attack the dog. If she attacks,bring the dog into a "sit" position quickly, which should stop the attack. If that cat simply walks over to "check out" your dog, simply maintain control of the leash and wait. Allow a 5-10 minute exposure for the first meeting. Herd your cat out of the room to a safe, quiet place where she can calm herself. Try this routine for several days, and have patience. Mary Anne adds that it is most important to prevent the dog being able to ambush the cat while she is in the litter pan - if this occurs, much of your hard work in builing trust may be undone! For more tips about introducing your pets, and specifically puppies and kittens, visit the website, thecatsite.com.

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