Introducing Your New Rottweiler to Your Cat

Rottweilers are large dogs who can have a high prey drive, so you need to be careful about introducing your new dog to your pet cat. First you need to consider your cat – introducing a dog into the home of any cat can be stressful, but if you have an elderly cat, it might be more than she can handle. Be sure that you always put the health and happiness of your cat before your own wishes. If you have an elderly cat, it might not be the time to bring a rottweiler home, or it might be advisable to rescue a calm adult dog who is well socialized with cats. While you may think puppies are great fun, your kitty probably won't see it the same way!

Refuge for Cats

Once you've decided to bring a rottweiler into your home, you need to get things prepared for your cat. She will need to have a refuge, which is a secure and quiet space that only she can get into. This will allow her some peace if live with a canine companion gets to be too much. Kit out the room with all the necessities for your kitty, including food, water, a litter box, toys and a scratching post. The refuge could be located in a room that isn't often used. Fit it with a baby gate so that puss can come and go at her leisure, while puppy can't get to her.

Thinking About Older Cats

If you do have an older cat, you should considered her needs before you bring your new rotty home. An older kitty probably won't have the abilities to stand up for herself well enough to any rough play, so if you do get a puppy, you'll need to make sure he learns quickly that playing with the cat isn't acceptable. An older dog who has a proven track record with creatures of the feline persuasion would make a better friend for your cat. If you must bring home a puppy, one who was brought up in a home with cats would be best. A stressful environment is problematic for an elderly kitty, so always take things as slowly as possible.

A Space for Your Dog

Your cat needs a little bit of time to get used to her unwanted guest, so you'll need to separate the two of them at first. Kitty needs to feel like she's still valued, so keep your new dog in a single room, with the door shut when he first gets here. That said, you shouldn't be ignoring your new arrival either, so make sure the room he's in is one that you hang out in often. If you're bringing home a puppy, he should be supervised for most of his waking hours, to facilitate toilet training.

Swapping Bedding

Soon after you get your new rottweiler home, you can start getting him and your kitty accustomed to one another's scent. Prior to their first meeting, swap their bedding material or blanket so that they can smell each other and have an idea of what to expect before coming face to face.

The Initial Meeting

We're always told that making a good first impression is important and this rings true for your pets, too. You should try to ensure that it's easygoing and pleasurable for your pets. Before getting them face to face, your dog and cat should meet through the closed door. You will have to have two people around for this – one to hold the pup and the other to hold the cat. Give each of them treats and praise so that they make positive associations. When they've got used to the other one through this barrier, it's time to meet in the flesh. Your dog should be kept on the leash during the first couple of meetings, even if he has a proven history of being good with cats. Let them sniff each other, but don't force an introduction, if your cat isn't interested, let her slink off into the corner. Should your rotty get too excited, give him a timeout to calm down and then give it another shot.

Supervision is Key

Even if you think your new rottweiler is trustworthy, you should keep an eye on his interactions with your cat at first to avoid a tragic mishap. For at least a few weeks, make sure that you're around whenever the pair are in the same room. When you go out, shut them in separate parts of the house. Wait until you trust that the two of them can interact with one another in a friendly manner before you leave them unsupervised. Even then you need to make sure that kitty has a refuge should she need to get away. 

Photo credit: Rottweiler Aaron/Wikimedia