56–59 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Kitten
How to Introduce a Dog to Your Cat
Despite what you may believe, cats and dogs can and do get along. Dogs are pack animals and will usually adjust well to life with a cat. Some cats who can't tolerate other cats may do better with a dog.
Before bringing the dog home:
Record the barking of dogs. Play this recording a few times a day at a low volume, turning it up little by little over time.
If you have to make changes to the house, do so gradually. For example, you may need to move your cat's dish to an elevated location so the dog can't eat her food or feed her in a room off-limits to the dog.
Prevent the dog from having access to the litter box by moving it to an area where it can be closed off with a baby gate. Set up a room with a baby gate across the doorway so the cat can get away from the dog when she needs to.
Before introducing the dog:
Let him work off some energy with a long walk or intense play session.
Bring the dog into the house on a leash. Let the cat and dog check each other out from across the room. Stay calm and use a soothing tone to praise the dog for his good behavior. Pet him gently on the chest using long strokes.
If the dog pulls on the leash or attempts to chase the cat, correct him with a quick tug on the leash and a verbal command; this will teach him to approach the cat slowly. Reward him every time he behaves.
Don't let the dog off leash in the same room with the cat until you're sure both pets are comfortable with each other. As the two get used to each other, keep watching for potential trouble. Keep an eye on the dog during meal times for any evidence of food aggression.
Be aware that cats and dogs have different play methods, so when they play together, make sure there's no miscommunication.
Advice from Other Cat Owners
Before You Adopt That Kitten
Before you bring that cute kitten home, please take a good look at your life and ask yourself some questions, particularly if you are young (the highest demographic for pet surrenderers is females, age 18-25).
Remember, cats live for 15-20 years and will need regular vet care for their whole life. Ask yourself, what will I do when I move? Am I willing to go the extra mile to find pet-friendly housing and take the cats along? (Even if your job sends you across the country or into another).
What will I do when I get married? What if my spouse is allergic to the cats, has big unfriendly dogs, or just doesn't like cats? How will I deal with that? What happens when I start having children? Will I be willing to help the cats make that transition during that busy and exciting time in my life? Will I be willing to keep them seperate if my baby is allergic? What happens if I get divorced? (Statistics say that you will). Will I fight to keep my pets during this personal crisis?
These questions may sound ridiculous, but I assure you they are not. The answers to these questions mean the difference between life and death every day- to the tune of 20 million 'No' answers a year (the number of animals surrendered to shelters across the U.S. in a year). It is a big commitment folks, think about it!
~Alex K., owner of Breed Unknown
Introducing Your New Kitten to Your Older Cat
Kittens will most likely get along great because they are so young, although it may take a day or two. My two cats were about 10 months when I brought home two kittens and it didn't go smoothly at all. The young kittens were excited to meet the older cats but the older cats were petrified of them.
What I learned is that cats react to smell and it's best to introduce them that way first. The advice from a cat expert was: keep them separate and give them each something that smells of the other one (towel/blanket etc). Once that goes well, then introduce them physically. It was fascinating because when I presented my cats with the towel smelling like the new kittens, the cats hissed and swatted at it, then ran in fear. Eventually they started to investigate it. You may not need this step but I wanted to share it just in case.
~Cindy W., owner of Breed Unknown