CATS & LABS
Not all Labs are meant to live with cats, but many have the ability to do well in a home with a cat. It’s important to give your new Lab and your cat time to get to know each other.
Below are some tips for making the introduction as easy as possible. It is natural for your cat to go into hiding when a new dog enters the home. This can last a couple of days or several weeks.
Establish a Cat Room
Consider giving the cat its own room. The simplest way to do this is to use a simple hook and eye to hold a door open to the point where a cat can squeeze through but not wide enough for the dog to get through. Presto! Instant cat room. You can also use this room to feed the cat so its food and water dish can stay out. But most importantly a cat room gives your cat somewhere to go when it needs time away from the Lab.
This meets with different levels of success, but for some animals it works well. The goal of this exercise is to introduce and integrate the animal’s scent in a completely safe way. Rub down your cat with a towel and have your new Lab sniff it. You can then rub down your new Lab so that they wear the scent of the cat and can put the towel in their crate or under their dog bed. Do the same for the cat; rub down the Lab and let the cat sniff it, then rub the scent in the cat’s areas so they get used to each other.
Limit interactions initially and increase the interactions over time and only when you can supervise. When the cat and dog are together, be prepared to step in if needed. If the Lab is shying away from the cat and their ears go down on their head, it’s a good time to separate them for a while. Most cats will tell your new Lab when the approach is too brusque or frightening. If your cat has access to the outdoors, keep in mind that some Labs are well mannered with the cat inside but will chase a cat outdoors.