It can be nerve-wracking to introduce two unfamiliar pets to each other, especially when they are a cat and a dog. Will they like each other? Or will this whole interaction be a disaster? If your cat is a Scottish Fold, you likely don’t have all that much to worry about; Scottish Folds are known to be friendly cats that get along with all sorts of other pets, including dogs.
Of course, each situation is unique and needs to be treated as such. Although Scottish Folds are known to get along with other pets, you should still properly introduce your dog and your Scottish Fold. Keep reading below for more information on introducing a dog to a Scottish Fold.
What to Consider Before Introducing a Dog to a Scottish Fold
Before bringing a dog and a Scottish Fold into the same household, there are some vital factors to consider.
Will the Pets Be a Good Match?
Not all pets will be the best fit for a Scottish Fold. This can sometimes be determined by the breed of the dog, as some dogs may have a higher prey drive and will be more likely to see your Scottish Fold as prey rather than as a friend. Extensive training can help these dogs co-exist peacefully with a cat, but it requires much more energy and effort than a dog with a low prey drive.
Size can also play a massive role in whether a dog and a Scottish Fold will be a good match. Cats tend to be more comfortable with smaller dogs, but there are always exceptions. Larger dogs may accidentally injure a cat if they step on or bump into them, so size is undoubtedly a factor to consider.
If one pet is full of energy and the other is not, the pair may not be the best match. Likewise, if your dog has had poor experiences with cats or vice versa, a dog and cat combination may not be suitable for your household.
Prior socialization will be critical. If your pets have a history of being friendly and welcoming to unfamiliar animals, introducing them to a new pet is more likely to go well. On the other hand, if they have a history of aggression and fear toward unfamiliar pets, bringing a new pet into the home may not be the right move.
Understand Your Pets’ Body Language
Another important factor to consider is whether you know how to read your pets’ body language. This skill will be crucial when introducing a dog and a cat to each other for the first time, as you will need to notice the signs that your dog or cat is feeling threatened and act before your pets do.
Signs that your dog is stressed or threatened include licking its lips or yawning. It may look away from the cat, have a paw raised, or keep its ears flat to its head and its tail tucked between its legs. There is a good chance that the dog may growl.
For your cat, watch out for flattened ears, an arched back, or a tucked tail. They may also crouch, face sideways, hide, or hiss. If either animal is motionless and staring at the other, this may be a sign that they are about to attack.
Knowing your pets’ body language will also help you learn when they are starting to grow comfortable with each other. If your dog is feeling safe, you may notice that its eyelids are relaxed. The tail will be down, its muscles will be relaxed, and its breathing will be stable.
Signs that your cat feels safe may include a steady and soft gaze, ears that face forward, and relaxed whiskers. Their tail will be raised and slightly curled at the tip.
How to Introduce Your Dog to Your Scottish Fold (Step-by-Step Guide)
To properly introduce your dog and your Scottish Fold, there are some preparations and steps that you should follow. Throughout the entire process, ensure you carefully supervise your pets.
Before you start, there are a few items that you will want to make sure you have ready. You’ll need a pet gate, dog treats and toys, cat treats and toys, and towels. You should have a friend or family member to help you out, as introductions tend to be a two-person job.
With the pet gate, divide your home into a “dog area” and a “cat area.” It is best if the pet gate is placed in a hallway or a doorway so that your dog and cat have a wall separating them. The towels will be placed in your dog’s and cat’s beds or wherever they sleep. This is so that you can later switch out the towels so they can get used to each other’s scents.
2. Allow them to have their own space
Keep your cat and dog separate. Although this may sound like the opposite of an introduction, it is the best way to allow them to grow accustomed to sharing the house with a new pet while still feeling that they have their own space. Allow your pets to adjust to this for a day or two before moving on to the next step.
3. Introduce their scent to each other
The next step is to begin the scent exchange with the towels. Every day, switch the towels between your pets’ beds. Do so for at least one week.
4. Let them hear each other
Once the pets are familiar with each other’s scents, you want them to become familiar with each other’s sounds. You can do so by playing with both pets behind the closed door. This is where you will need a second person to help, as you will want to play with both pets and give them treats and the same time. The idea is that both pets should have fun and feel good while hearing the other pet playing. Take a day or two to go through this step.
5. Begin to introduce them officially
Next, cover the pet gate with a towel and open the door. As they grow more comfortable, slowly move the towel aside so your dog and cat can gradually see each other. This stage should not be rushed; you may spend weeks on this step.
Eventually, you can remove the barrier entirely while playing with both pets. Your dog should be on a leash so that it cannot approach the cat before your cat is ready. If your cat decides to approach the dog, that’s fine, as this will help your cat grow more used to the dog’s presence. Your pets should be more focused on training or playtime than on each other, so if they become too distracted by each other, you may need to move your dog with the leash.
6. Reinforce and Repeat
You should continue these playtime sessions until your pets are consistently calm and comfortable with each other’s presence.
Are Scottish Fold Cats Good with Kids?
Scottish Folds are great with kids as long as the children know how to behave around a cat. When teaching your child to interact with cats, it is important to supervise them.
How to Help Kids Learn to Interact with Cats
No matter how well-meaning they are, young kids may accidentally be too rough-handed or grab your cat’s fur, ears, or tail. You must teach your child to use a gentle, open hand when petting the cat. Likewise, teach children that only certain places on a cat’s body should be touched. This includes the back, shoulders, neck, and head.
When your child wants to play loudly, try to keep it outdoors. Your cat may become frightened by the loud noise even if it is not directed at them. Similarly, it would be best if you kept an eye out for your cat’s body language, so you will know when it needs a break from the young ones.
Give your cat plenty of places to hide. Cats need private time to recharge from situations they may find stressful, so make sure your child knows to leave your cat alone if it is in one of the hiding spots.
Scottish Folds are friendly, easygoing cats with great adaptability. As long as everyone is introduced properly, your Scottish Fold can become best friends with any dog, cat, or child. This makes the Scottish Fold an excellent family cat, as it can suit plenty of unique family dynamics. Also, they’re much friendlier around other animals than other cat breeds.