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Meet your new feline friend

With faces like these, who can resist at least one of each?
With faces like these, who can resist at least one of each?
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

What's that smell? When you bring home a new kitten or cat, the first thing a dog wants to do is smell, smell and smell some more. In the prim proper world of a cat, that just won't do. How can you take control of this situation when you introduce a new cat to a dog?

Meow!
Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images
  • Be prepared for hissing and spitting to ensue. If you are prepared for this to happen, then you will not overreact.

  • Hold on to your pets firmly because their instinct is to run and fight. The dog may want to play; the cat will be annoyed. Their running will get the dog excited and a chase will ensue. This can be very destructive to your home and possibly the pets.

  • Avoid bad behavior by having a leash or firm hand on your pets.

Let's face it, cats think dogs smell funny; just look at the faces they make at them, and tell me otherwise. My cat acts like the dog is disgusting yet she can't resist a game of chase around the kitchen table or playing hide-and-seek by crouching on the chairs and making the dog peek to find out which one she is sitting on.

On the other hand, if you are introducing a cat to a dog's domain keep in mind that cats are very defensive around dogs, and it would be a sad event to have your puppy lose an eye like my lab did when we brought him in contact with our yard-defending cats. Thankfully, Nova recovered with some of her vision. To this day, she misses the Frisbee nine times out of ten when it passes to her right side (the side of the bad eye), but we love her all the same. However, how can you avoid ill-tempered fights such as these?

  • Be active and present anytime your dog and cat are around each other.

  • Do not allow either animal to bully the other. Step in with a squirt bottle or other form of deterrent.

  • Never allow a dog to play with a cat if the cat is not into the game. The dog may be happy with the game, but the cat will be terrified.

  • Be prepared to stop a fight with a broom or other soft-ended, scary object such as a newspaper or a dog whistle.

  • Keep in mind that a dog can usually kill a cat, while a cat can maim or blind the dog. You must be a vigilant owner if you plan on having both types of pets in the same household.

Introducing cats and dogs can be a tricky endeavor but if you love both canine and feline it may be worth it to take the plunge into this new territory. After all, war can't last forever, can it?

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