Photo of kitten and a dog playing together

How to introduce your dog to a new cat

Dogs and cats can get along in the same house just fine, but if you’re introducing a new cat to your dog, they may need an adjustment period. Here are some steps you can take to ensure everyone lives in harmony.


Create a safe space

Before your cat arrives, set up a space where dogs aren’t allowed. It doesn’t have to be big, but it should have a secure door and ceiling and include:


  • a litter box
  • a bed
  • a scratching post
  • food and water bowls
  • toys


In the rest of your home, give your cat access to high areas like shelves or furniture where dogs can’t reach.



Visit a veterinarian

Take your cat to a veterinarian to get a checkup and ensure it’s free of any illnesses and is fully vaccinated. It’s also the perfect time to stock up on nutritious cat food.



Keep pets separate

Keep your cat separate from your dog for the first three to four days. Let them get used to the other’s presence by hearing and smelling each other but avoiding face-to-face contact.



Use feeding as a tool

Feed your dog and cat on either side of a closed door, so they can’t see each other. Move the bowls closer to the door at each feeding until they can calmly eat next to the door.



Initiate meetings

When it’s time for your animals to finally meet, do so briefly in a common area of the house. Put your dog on a leash, and let your cat come and go as it pleases. Give your pets treats. Have them meet daily and end the sessions before either gets too aggressive.



Let them loose

Let your dog and cat loose in a room once you think they’ll get along. Ensure the cat can access its dog-free space. Keep the pets separated when you aren’t home until you know they’re safe.



Kitten and puppies

Kittens and puppies present unique challenges. An energetic dog can easily injure or kill a kitten, so it’s best to keep a kitten isolated until it’s fully grown. A fully-grown cat can often defend itself against a rambunctious puppy. If your cat is timid, though, you may need to keep the animals separate until the puppy is more mature.



Veterinarian services in Scarborough

At Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital, we offer complete veterinarian care for dogs and cats. Shop our online store for home delivery or request express pickup from our Scarborough animal clinic. To arrange for vet services, contact us to schedule an appointment.