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RSPCA's tips for Boris on introducing a dog to Larry the cat at No. 10

PM also urged to adopt a rescue dog in need of a forever home
As the Prime Minister announces he wants a dog at No.10, the RSPCA has some advice on how to successfully introduce a new pet to Downing Street’s current resident, Larry the cat.

Cats and dogs can form close relationships, but it’s important to make sure that they are introduced properly to ensure that fur doesn’t fly.

The RSPCA has some advice for the new Prime Minister to help any new pooch form a fur-m friendship with resident Downing Street moggy Larry.

Lisa Hens, RSPCA pet welfare expert said: “If you want to introduce a new pet into the home, the better prepared you are, the greater the likelihood of the pets living in harmony and even becoming friends. And please do consider adopting a rescue dog - our centres have a number of dogs which can live with cats.

“You can introduce a dog to an existing cat before they actually meet by swapping the bedding of the cat with that of the new dog before he is brought home. This is like us seeing photographs of someone before we meet them.

“To ensure the first meeting is as positive an experience as possible for everyone, it should be planned well in advance. It's really important to let them get to know each other at their own pace rather than forcing them to interact. That might mean keeping them separate until the cat gets used to having a dog in the house.

Key advice for introducing a dog to your cat:

• Take things slowly with careful introductions
• Don’t let your new dog frighten the cat - if the first meeting starts with a chase it can cause problems later on
• Get them used to each others smells by giving the cat some bedding your new dog has slept in
• Plan in advance - consider keeping them separate until the cat gets used to the new four-legged member of the family
• Consider using a dog crate or kitten crate pen, with somewhere for the cat to hide (like a cardboard box) for first introductions - so they can sniff each other but stay safe
• Keep your dog on a lead to control interactions
• Don’t force them to interact and let them move at their own pace.
• Reward your dog for calm interactions

Read the RSPCA’s step-by-step guide on introducing new pets at www.rspca.org.uk/dogs/company.

The RSPCA has plenty of dogs looking for homes - many of which may be able to live with a cat, such as Buster, an eight year-old Staffie, and Topsy and Tim, 13-week-old springer spaniel/collie crosses. To see more dogs looking for a home, check out the RSPCA’s Findapet service.

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