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Scotties and cats can live together!

Scotties can co-exist quite happily with cats especially if introduced while they are puppies. 

Before you bring your new puppy home its a good idea to spend some time preparing your house and your existing pets for their arrival.

Consider where your puppy is going to have their space. If this is an area that your cats normally have their food, water or litter tray, it would be a good idea to move these away to an area only the cat has access to and get the cat used to the change before your puppy arrives. This helps reduce stress and avoid problems with your cat being too afraid to eat/drink or use the litter tray once the dog arrives.

Make sure there are plenty of high resting places where your cat can easily and safely retreat away from your puppy if they want to. As your puppy is a Scottie they only have very short legs, so cats will be able to easily jump up on a chair or the lounge to escape.

When you first bring your new puppy home

On the day you bring your puppy home, it is a good idea to secure your cat in their favourite room with their bed and bedding, water, food and litter. Allow your puppy to explore the house and then secure them in a room of their own with comfy bedding, water and a treat. While your dog settles down allow your cat to explore the house and become familiar with your dog’s scent. If possible repeat this several times, allowing each animal their turn to have access to the whole house without ever confronting one another. In the meantime, work on basic training with your puppy so that you have some control over them when it comes to introducing them to your cat.

Introducing your new puppy to your cat

When you are ready to introduce your puppy to the cat, do so when your puppy is at their calmest. You may wish to play with puppy first to tire them out. For the first introduction, use a room in which your cat is easily able to escape to a chair or somewhere up out of reach of excited puppies.

If your puppy is being crate trained or has a playpen you might like to allow them to meet through the barrier at first. Give them time to explore each other through the bars and become relaxed.

Once you have decided that it is safe to try face-to-face interaction you might use a toy to distract puppy’s attention away from the cat and likewise with the cat, especially if they are getting too excited. Never force any interactions but just give your cat a lot of attention and positive experiences such as grooming, playing, and treats while they are in the same room as your puppy. Just let the cat get used to the dog being there and vice versa.

Give them both praise and treats to reward calm behaviour. It is helpful to have another person with you during this time if possible so each animal can be praised and rewarded at the same time. If your dog becomes highly excitable at any time during the introduction remove them from the room. Do this several times a day, keeping the meetings short so that stress is kept to a minimum.

You should allow the cat to choose whether they approach the puppy or not. They may hiss or growl but if no interaction is forced they are unlikely to advance and if they do you can protect your puppy from any aggressive advance.

Be patient, it may take a few attempts before you are confident to leave your puppy and cat together unsupervised. In the initial stages there may be some hissing and tail swishing – but this should settle down after a few days. Keep a close eye on both animals and never punish either of them for aggressive behaviour as this will be a negative experience associated with the presence of the other animal and counter-productive. If they are aggressive just return them to separate quarters for a while and try again later, rewarding calm accepting behaviour.

Do not leave your animals alone together until you are absolutely certain that they tolerate each other. Try and teach the puppy not to chase the cat. If you are not sure, continue to supervise directly when you are at home and physically separate them when you are not at home. The cat should ALWAYS have somewhere safe to which they can retreat.

Please note, that if the cat has no experience of dogs introducing a dog can be a distressing experience and many cats (if they are allowed unrestricted access outside and have the opportunity to) may leave home for a period of time. This is obviously very concerning, so it is important to do everything you can to ensure that the introductions are done carefully and slowly as possible and that the cat always has places in the house where they can be safe and secure away from the dog.

There is no reason why your puppy and your cat cannot learn to tolerate one another and live happily in the same house. Many Scotties live with cats and even become good friends. In situations where cats do not like the pet dog in the long-term, they may still be able to co-exist in relative peace by seeking out their own space and spending most of their time apart. Pets often have the ability to find a balance and share their territory. Having access to different rooms so that they can choose to be alone can be a big help to making both animals feel secure and happy. Feeding the cat and dog separately is important and ensuring that your cat has a private area to go to the toilet and a safe sleeping spot may assist.


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