June marks National Adopt a Cat Month, created by the American Humane Association to bring awareness to the growing cat population in shelters - approximately 3.4 million per year. Many individuals considering cat adoption may already have a dog. Regardless, before making the decision to bring a cat into your household, it is crucial that potential pet owners take a variety of factors into consideration.
To better help integrate cats into any family, Heidi Ganahl, CEO and Founder of Camp Bow Wow featuring Home Buddies, a premier in-home pet care service, has created a series of useful tips.
Tips on Integrating Cats and Dogs into the Same Home:
-Choose the Right Personality: Always consider the personalities of the animals you are bringing into the home. For example, if you have a dog who likes to chase, you will want a cat that won't be in fear.
-Separate Rooms: For the first week or so, keep the dog and cat separated. You can switch between confining one to a certain room or area for a couple of days and then switch which one is confined. This will give them each time to get to know each other's smells and become familiar with them.
-Supervise At All Times: Don't leave the animals together by themselves until everyone has settled into having new friends in the house. You want to be able to keep an eye on them, so lock them in separate areas when you are out of the house.
-Keep the Dog on a Leash: While the dog and cat are in the same room, allow the dog to see the cat moving around. Watch the dog to make sure it doesn't try to chase the cat and that it isn't too fixated on what the cat is doing. You can also feed the dog some treats when the cat is around to have them build up a positive association with the kitty.
-Practice Obedience: You can then use obedience commands to help keep your dog calm and focused when the cat is around.
-Create a Safe Zone: Make sure the cat has a place to jump up to if they need to. You always want to make sure that your kitty has a safe place to get away from the dog in case they dog does start to chase them.