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Jackson Galaxy’s 3 Pieces of Advice for Introducing Cats and Dogs

Jackson Galaxy in NYC on March 12, 2017 in New York City. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Jackson Galaxy

OK, so you’ve adopted a cat and you’re ready to introduce it to your dog. Great! But now what? Do you throw ‘em in a room together and hope for the best? Do you awkwardly hold your flailing kitty while your doggo checks him out? Nope and nope!

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Us Weekly hit up New York City’s Cat Camp 2018 to talk to My Cat From Hell star Jackson Galaxy, and he dished on the best ways pet owners can introduce canines and felines without drama.

The key? Remembering that cats and dogs are different species. Meaning, they basically have nothing in common other than the fact that they’re pets and you love them. “Cats are not dogs, and dogs are not cats,” Galaxy tells Us. “They have four legs and they’re covered in fur, and that’s where it stops. To think you can put a cat and a dog in the same room together and they’re just gonna work it out … C’mon. It’s not going to work!”

What do work, however, are these three tips!

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1. Introduce Them Slowly and Consider Their Environment
There are tried and true methods for introducing cats and dogs that you can read all about in Galaxy’s book Total Cat Mojo, but one major thing to keep in mind is finding a prime location for the meet-n-greet. Preferably, you want a space with room for your dog to play on the floor, and with plenty of furniture for your cat to climb on.

“Make sure your cat has tons of vertical space so it can get above the dog, and look down and say, ‘OK, that’s what this thing is all about,’” Galaxy notes. “Dogs occupy the ground, cats occupy the air, and that’s the first way to introduce them.”

2. Your Dog Needs to Be Trained
Cats value their personal space, while dogs … well, they’re called man’s best friend for a reason. Unless it’s well-trained, your dog might be slightly too eager to meet your new kitty friend — which could cause your cat to freak out. Moral of the story: Galaxy says if your dog can’t do a down-stay, “it should be walking around on a leash constantly for that first month. Because one bad experience and you’re set back forever.”

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3. Your Cat Needs a Private Space
Most feline friends value alone time, but this will especially be the case for a kitty who’s overwhelmed by a dog. You want to make sure your cat has a room to call his own. And on that note, go ahead and keep his litter wayyyy far away from your dog.

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“Dogs love to eat cat litter,” Galaxy says. “So you have to make sure your cat has a sacred space. The litter box has to be safe, as well as your dog’s food. You don’t want a cat going up to a dog’s bowl because you don’t know until they’re together how resource protective your dog might be. Just don’t take anything for granted!”

Got it? Good! And a quick P.S. from the cat-fanatics here at Us: Try keeping your furry friends seperarted for at least a few days before formal introductions so they can get used to each other’s scent and general presence in the house!

Us Weekly articles and content are for informational purposes only. Nothing contained in Us Weekly articles and/or content is or should be considered, or used as a substitute for, veterinary or professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you believe your pet may have a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.