Animal Doctor

Animal Doctor

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dear Dr. Fox:

I am adopting a 12-week-old Bengal cat. I live alone and have no other pets. My significant other owns a mixed Rottweiler. We would like the two to get along, because our plans include moving in together. The dog is very sweet and doesn't attack smaller dogs. He is friendly to bigger dogs as long as he is off leash.

What is the best way to introduce the cat and dog?

A.G.S.

Washington

Why are you getting a Bengal cat? They are half-wild crosses between the domestic cat and the wild Asian leopard cat that can be very difficult to handle as adults and don't adapt well to home life. Get a naturally spotted, wholly domesticated Ocicat if you want a wild-looking cat.

When you introduce a kitten to a dog, wear thick, protective clothing, because a fearful kitty might claw and scratch you. Sit down with the kitten protected on your lap, and invite the dog over to investigate. He should be on a leash held by his owner. Seeing, hearing and smelling the cat, and understanding your protective behavior and reassuring tone of voice, should help the dog adapt quickly.

The kitten must not be let on the ground with the dog until the dog is quiet and will stay in the sit position. Then, collar and leash the kitten to prevent it from running away if spooked, which could make the dog chase it. Step by step, after a few days of supervised interaction, they will play, eat and probably sleep together.


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