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Introducing Your Cat to a Dog

Guest Post by Mary Nielsen

Dog-2606759_1920Suppose you have a cat and you want to introduce her to a new dog you are adding to your household. Or what if you already have a dog and you want to introduce him to a new cat? It's a challenge, but it is possible with the right approach.

After learning about jealousy in cats, you may want to prevent jealousy by gently introducing your cat to a new cat in the household. But what if it's a dog? "To fight like cats and dogs" is a tired cliché, but based on truth. It stems from a language barrier. What a cat thinks is a friendly greeting, a dog thinks is an unwarranted expression of dominance. What a dog thinks of as a friendly greeting, a cat thinks is a sign of aggression. The best way to overcome this language barrier is to introduce them as puppy and kitten, while they're so naïve that everything seems new and different. Of course, that's not always possible.

Before You Get Started

If at all possible, get a cat and dog with similar personalities. If the situation is due to a blended family or other cohabitation, this may not be an option. It's preferable to start with animals that have lived with other animals before. The dog should know the commands "sit", "no" and "stay" and be leash-trained. Aggressive animals (even if only in play) will not match well with nervous, shy animals. While it's best to introduce a puppy and a kitten to each other, two elderly animals might be able to quietly tolerate each other. In the case of puppies and kittens, supervise their playtime to make sure they don't hurt themselves.

If possible, let the cat and dog take turns roaming freely about the house while the other visits a friend or family member. This way, they'll know each other by scent when they first meet.

The Pavlovian Method

Your cat will need to be isolated for a while with food, water, litter box and bedding. You may come in to visit, but the dog should stay out. For at least a week, the cat and dog must eat on opposite sides of a solid door. If your dog barks, whines or paws at the door, give him a calm but firm "No!" and move his bowl away from the door. Gradually move the food bowls closer to the door over the week until they're practically eating side by side if not for the door. You can also rub one with a rag and put it near the other's bowl so they can smell it while eating. In time, they'll come to see each other's scent as pleasant.

Face to Face

For their first face to face meeting, there should be a handler for each animal. Pets can pick up on fear and nervousness, so try to keep calm. The dog should be leashed and the cat should have access to her safe space, be that a carrier, kitty condo or space under the bed. Calmly and gently let the cat and dog see and smell each other. Speak in a composed, reassuring voice. If things take a turn for the worse (one or both lunges at the other, for example) the dog can be pulled back on a leash and commanded "No! Sit!" The cat will most likely retreat to someplace safe. Repeat this several times, gradually lengthening the time of the visits.

Never punish a pet for a bad reaction to another. You don't want them to associate the other animal with punishment. Do reward them for good behavior. Some dog breeds that have a high prey instinct (hounds, spaniels and terriers) may never acclimate to a cat's presence. Of course, if the dog is of a toy group (such as a Yorkie or Chihuahua) you may have to tell your cat to play nice! Even if your cat and dog do learn to accept each other, keep food and litter boxes where the one who shouldn't use it can't get to it.

Mary Nielsen founded FelineLiving.net and is a passionate cat lover, blogger, and part-time music teacher. She founded her blog to share her ups and downs of being a pet parent to a bunch of adorable kittens and cats. When she is not playing with them or teaching, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen.

Image: Pixabay


Reduced or No-Fee Adoptions at 9 WNC Shelters - Aug. 16-19

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Get ready to adopt your best friend at the massive "No Pets Left Behind" adoption extravaganza the weekend of August 18! In Western North Carolina, 9 shelters, humane societies and rescue organizations will be offering special pricing -- either extremely reduced fees or no fees at all -- for adorable, adoptable animals. Here are the details:

Asheville Humane Society
(Sponsored by Apple Tree Honda)

Event Days and Hours: Thursday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 1pm-6pm
Event Location: Asheville Humane Society Adoption Center, 14 Forever Friend Ln. Asheville, NC 28806
Promotion Details: Fee-waived on all pets
View Adoptable Pets

Blue Ridge Humane Society

Event Days and Hours: Friday 10am-7pm and Saturday 10am-5pm
Event Location: Blue Ridge Humane Society, 88 Centipede Ln, Hendersonville, NC 28792
Promotion Details: "Pick Your Own Adoption Fee"
View Adoptable Pets

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue

Event Days and Hours: Friday 10am-7pm and Saturday 10am-6pm
Event Location: Brother Wolf Adoption Center, 31 Glendale Ave, Asheville, NC 28803
Promotion Details: Fee-waived pets with length of stay over 3 months
View Adoptable Pets

Foothills Humane Society

Event Days and Hours: Friday and Saturday 11am-5pm
Event Location: Foothills Humane Society, 989 Little Mountain Rd, Columbus, NC 28722
Promotion Details: All pets $5
View Adoptable Pets

Mitchell County Animal Rescue

Event Days and Hours:Thursday and Friday 10am-4:30pm. CLOSED ON SATURDAY
Event Location: Mitchell County Animal Rescue, 2492 US-19E, Spruce Pine, NC 28777
Promotion Details: Cats fee-waived, dogs half price 
View Adoptable Pets

Mountain Pet Rescue

Event Days and Hours: Saturday 10am-5pm
Event Location: The Thrift Hound Thrift Store, 232 New Leicester Hwy, Asheville, NC 28806
Promotion Details: All pets half price
View Adoptable Pets

Rusty's Legacy

Event Days and Hours: Saturday, Time TBD
Event Location: PetSmart, 150 Bleachery Blvd, Asheville, NC 28805
Promotion Details: $100 adoption fee
View Adoptable Pets

Transylvania County Animal Services

Event Days and Hours: Friday 10am – 5:30pm and Saturday 10am – 4pm
Event Location: Transylvania County Animal Services, 1124 Old Rosman Hwy, Brevard, NC 28712
Promotion Details: Half price for all adult pets
View Adoptable Pets

Yancey County Humane Society

Event Days and Hours: TBD
Event Location: Yancey County Humane Society, 962 Cane River School Rd, Burnsville, NC 28714 
Petco, 964 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804
Promotion Details: All pets fee-waived
View Adoptable Pets


Hiking Hounds - Asheville, Aug. 26

Hiking houndsHiking Hounds is one of the most popular Asheville Humane Society volunteer activities. Each month, volunteers take shelter dogs on hikes as part of the enrichment programming. You'll spend a few hours in Bent Creek hiking the trails with dogs who will love you for it.

The next hike with the Hiking Hounds group is Sunday, August 26. Start time is 9 AM for repeat hikers and 8:30 AM for new hikers. Hikers generally return to the shelter at 16 Forever Friend Lane, Asheville around 11:30 AM to 12 PM. Note: New and repeat hikers alike are required to sign up in advance. If you'd like to sign up for this hike, email ahshikinghounds@outlook.com.

Hikers are signed up on a "first come-first served basis" and you must have a confirmed reservation to attend a hike. And please make sure you can actually make the hike; if we have late cancellations, a dog gets left behind without a hike.

For more information visit the Hiking Hounds Facebook page.


Pilates with Puppies - Asheville, Sept. 22

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 3.04.01 PMOn Saturday, Sept. 22, Cisco Pilates will hold a "Pilates with Puppies" class from 9 AM to 10 AM, and again from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM -- at the Asheville Humane Society Adoption & Education Center, 14 Forever Friend Lane, Asheville (off Brevard and Pond Roads near the WNC Farmers Market).

Pilates with Puppies will be a basic Pilates class, with puppies provided by Asheville Humane Society. Please bring your own yoga or Pilates mat and a small towel. Please do not bring your own puppy! The cost is $15, which is a donation to Asheville Humane Society on behalf of Buncombe County animals.

Pre-registration is required and these classes are very popular. Early registration is suggested as space is limited and this event is expected to sell out! Visit https://www.ciscopilates.com/pricing/ to sign up. Questions? Email alexis@ciscopilates.com

Image: Cisco Pilates


Hiking Hounds - Asheville, Aug. 12

Hiking houndsHiking Hounds is one of the most popular Asheville Humane Society volunteer activities. Each month, volunteers take shelter dogs on hikes as part of the enrichment programming. You'll spend a few hours in Bent Creek hiking the trails with dogs who will love you for it.

The next hike with the Hiking Hounds group is Sunday, August 12. Start time is 9 AM for repeat hikers and 8:30 AM for new hikers. Hikers generally return to the shelter at 16 Forever Friend Lane, Asheville around 11:30 AM to 12 PM. Note: New and repeat hikers alike are required to sign up in advance. If you'd like to sign up for this hike, email ahshikinghounds@outlook.com.

Hikers are signed up on a "first come-first served basis" and you must have a confirmed reservation to attend a hike. And please make sure you can actually make the hike; if we have late cancellations, a dog gets left behind without a hike.

For more information visit the Hiking Hounds Facebook page.