If you follow me, or the pets, on Instagram then by now you’ve probably seen that we’ve moved the dog, Marlo, into the house. It hasn’t exactly been all sunshine and rainbows, and if you’ve ever had to merge animals together, you know what I’m talking about. I thought it would be helpful for me to share with you guys how I’ve been able to successfully introduce Marlo into the household and create a mellow, loving environment between a dog and two cats. Here’s what we did:
First, we built a baby gate and wouldn’t allow Marlo to pass through certain areas so the cats felt comfortable in the home. It seems like an obvious thing to do but it made all the difference in the world.
Every two days, we swapped the animals spaces. So from Monday to Wednesday, Marlo would have the family room and the upstairs. Then from Wednesday to Friday, Marlo would have the hallways and bedrooms. This way, they could smell one another’s scents to familiarize themselves with the fact that they are living with another animal.
After that, we would open the baby gate after two weeks and slowly start to introduce the cats to Marlo. We would have to be with Marlo 24/7 in order for her to stay calm when the cats walked by her.
Once they were more comfortable, we would play with the cats in front of Marlo so she could see them running, hopping, and whatever it is that cats do. Eventually, Marlo became less and less bothered by Smushball and Peanut.
Then we incorporated Feliway (a plugin that Dr. Lisa Lippman, a vet friend of mine told us about) which relaxed the cats tremendously. It’s basically a chemical that mimics the pheromones cats release when they’re calm and social. It can be a really easy and effective way to deal with cats that are stressed or anxious and it comes in a fast-acting spray or a continuous release air diffuser. From that point on, Smushball started to be around Marlo a lot more.
We would also just bring the cats out even if they didn’t want to be in the family room, put them on high ground, and eventually, they stayed there and just watched Marlo. We could all hang out together and not worry about the pets being nervous or on edge around each other.
It took some work and patience, but we finally integrated all the pets together. Now, Smushball cries every morning because she wants to be near Marlo. Peanut is a weird duck and will go play with Marlo on her own time, but we’ve definitely become a happy family.