As you know, bringing a new cat home can be less stressful if the cat is properly introduced to your home. It is even more important to do so if you have other pets.
If you have a dog, allow your cat to roam free in a room your dog does not have access to for a few days before introducing them. Desensitizing your pets to each other can create a harmonious multi-pet household. There are a few methods you can use to introduce your cat and dog to one another.
Crating your dog
Crating a dog is not harmful to the dog and it allows the dog a clear view of the cat while at the same time lessening the risk of anything bad happening between the two. Give your dog a toy or something to keep him occupied before allowing your cat to enter the room. Let your cat explore the room on her own and reward her for her confidence by giving her treats or setting a food bowl in the room and allowing her to eat while your dog is present.
Leashing your dog
Hold your dog on a leash and allow him to see the cat in another room. Reward your dog if he is being calm, quiet, and relaxed. Only allow your dog to view the cat if he is displaying these qualities. Reinforce this positive behavior and do not reward your dog if he is whining, barking, lunging, or holding a stiff posture. You can slowly walk your dog on the leash toward the cat. If he displays proper behavior, reward him. If he does not, do not say anything, just turn around and walk away with the dog.
Teaching cues and respect
Teaching your dog sit, stay, lay down, or some other attention cue can keep your household calm. Your cat needs to view your dog in a non-threatening way. Do not allow your cat and dog to play together as it could prove to be dangerous for your cat. Some people have cats and dogs that do play together, but accidents do happen and playing should be discouraged. Do not allow your dog to play with your cat’s toys, eat from your cat’s bowl, or be anywhere near the litter box.
If necessary, separate your dog and cat when you are not able to supervise them.
If you are adopting from a shelter or rescue, make sure you know if the cat has ever been tested around dogs. Castaway Critters and other rescues in the area have all their available animals in foster homes, and many have dogs and cats already cohabitating together.
Remember, it may take time for your new cat and dog to get used to each other and the key to creating a happy home for them both is instilling good behavior on their part and patience on yours.
Here is an article on introducing a new cat to a home with another cat.