Introducing a New Cat or Dog into the Family

Posted by Belinda Bird on

Sometimes the most daunting thing about getting a new kitten or puppy is introducing them to your current pets at home.


This needs to be a slow introduction, if it is rushed it can cause a negative experience and can cause one or both of the pets to become frightened of each other.


You should never just come home and let them interact without supervision at the first introduction, even if it is introducing a cat to a cat and a dog to a dog.



Here are a few do’s and don’ts when introducing pets:

  • Never introduce around food
  • Give equal attention to both
  • Your current pet should always recieve attention first from you and should be fed first. This will help keep the pecking order in place. 
  • Dogs should be on a lead and cats should be separated by a glass door or in separate cages for their first introduction. 
  • Where you can, introduce on neutral ground. Either out of the yard or away from bedding.







Wether your dog is excitable, nervous or shy… you should put him/her on a lead as well as your new dog. This will give you some control over the situation if the introduction does not go well.


Let them sniff each other and get to know each other first, and yes… they will want to sniff each other's bottoms!


Ideally, their tails will be wagging and they will start trying to play with each other. If this happens, let them play whilst you still have hold of the lead for about 10-15 minutes. If it is all still going well then let go of the leads, but keep them connected to each dog, just incase you need to take control of the situation again in a hurry. 


If you have a dog that becomes anxious when on a lead, your best option is to let them first meet through a fence on neutral ground if possible. 


Do not leave them unsupervised while they are still getting used to each other.


If they are not interested in playing initially, simply separate them and try again later. You must always ensure that you do not give your new dog more freedom than your old dog, as this will put the pecking order out of place.


Some dogs simply need more time… don’t rush things and keep trying. Always stay calm, as dogs can sense nervousness and anxiety from us.






This needs to be done slower than when introducing one dog to another. For starters… It is important to note that you should not let your new cat outside for at least 7 days. Cats can have a tendency to wander and become lost or try and find their way back to their old home.


It is best to leave your old cat have run of the house and keep your new cat in a separate room for a day or two. I can guarantee you that your old cat will know that he/she is there even if they have not actually seen each other yet.


This will allow your cats to get used to each others smell.


The next step is to introduce them with a glass door between them, so they can see each other but not actually touch.


If this is not an option, the next step is to put both cats in separate crates and face them towards each other and let them look at each other for a while. If your cat has never been in a crate or does not do well in one, then just put your new cat in one and allow your old cat to wander around the cage. This will have the same effect.  


This just prevents any injury if they do not initially become best friends.


Do this done over a couple of days and if it is all going well, you can let them free in the house together under supervision.


It is vital to introduce slowly, as moving too fast may cause them to never get along.


Like I mentioned earlier… cats hate change, and a new cat in the household is about the biggest change they can get.





I would love to hear any feedback or experiences that you have!


 Belinda Bird 

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