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Dear Christopher Cat

My two cats will soon move in with Spankey, a dog who knows nothing of cats. How can I ease the transition?

Christopher Responds

When your cats move into their new home, confine them to one small room for about a week.

They will get to know the sounds of the house from the safety of their own little room, and Spankey will become acquainted with them by sniffing under the door.

By the end of the week, your cats will feel confident enough to sneak out of the room and go exploring.
When that happens, install a child gate in the doorway.

That way, the cats can investigate the house but retreat to the safety of their own room without having Spankey follow them.

Let the cats and Spankey gradually introduce themselves. Don’t carry the cats to him for a formal introduction, or you’ll get scratched when they leap from your arms.

I shouldn’t have to tell you that we cats do not appreciate being chased by dogs, so keep a close eye on Spankey.
In our home, Mom tells new dogs, “Easy with the cats.” They learn quickly, or I scratch their noses.

Teach Spankey a similar command if he doesn’t already know how to be gentle when asked.

Don’t let the cats get too close to Spankey while he’s eating or chewing a precious toy. I learned the hard way that some dogs are quite protective.

If you follow my advice, your blended family should function smoothly within a few weeks.

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