Do cats and dogs have to be mortal enemies? Not at all! With the right introductions, your cat and dog can get along like best friends. But how do you introduce a new cat to your dog, the right way? We’ll show you with these five simple steps.

Say “Hi” Before Adoption

Before you decide which cat you want to bring home to your dog, set them up on a first date. Bring your dog into the shelter or pet shop to meet the new cat. If you’ve done your research, you should already know if the cat is amicable with dogs. Now it’s just a matter of their chemistry. If your first introduction goes well, you’re ready to move-in.

Give Me Some Space

Would you be ready to move in with someone after one date? Of course not! So when you’re ready to bring your cat home to your dog (or vice versa), make sure they both have their own space to adjust and feel comfortable. This is especially important for the cat. He or she will need to feel in control of their environment while adjusting to the new home. We recommend giving the cat a spare bedroom or bathroom where they have access to everything they need (food, water, littler, etc.) until they are adjusted to the new home.

During this time, you should introduce your dog to the cat through scent. Both dogs and cats are sensitive to smell, and it’s important that they get used to each other’s scent in your apartment. All you have to do is pet your dog with a washcloth and place the cloth in the room with your cat. Do the same for your dog as well so neither one is surprised to see each other in the home later.

Once your new cat feels comfortable in the new room, it’s time to open up the rest of the apartment. It may be easier to just open the door and use a baby gate so your dog and cat can interact, but still, have the space to get away until they are comfortable with each other.


Don’t Pick Favorites

Congratulations! You’ve successfully introduced the new cat to your dog and they are getting along in a shared space. Even though they’re friends, be sure to take time and give each animal their own attention, separately. For your cat, maybe set aside some time to read a book and cuddle up by the window. Don’t forget to check out your apartment amenities to see if your community has a bark park nearby. Your dog will appreciate some real one-on-one time with you.

Additional Resources

There are so many more resources out there with great tips on introducing a new cat to your dog. Cats Protection has a great video describing a similar step-by-step process to introduce your dog to a new cat. We also found a resource on how to introduce a new dog to your cat from

No matter where you live, make it home. We have special amenities in our pet-friendly apartment communities near you.

Find your pet-friendly home