Once you’ve decided to bring home a cat for your dog or a dog for your cat, and you know the perfect match, it’s time to start looking.

Make sure to check your local animal shelter and animal control first before considering a breeder. There are tons of animals who need loving homes and wouldn’t mind having a friend.

Once you’ve found your perfect match, you want to make sure to make sure the introduction process goes smooth.

When you bring home the new pet, you want to make the introduction slow. You may want to start with the animals on opposite sides of a closed door, so that they can smell each other. Over a few days, rotate the animals so that they can get better acclimated to each others scents.

Give it another few days, and when both animals are calm, put them both in the same room. You may want to walk the dog or put him through some heavy exercise.

It’s best to have the dog on a leash so that you can control him if he tries to take off after the cat. If you notice any signs of fear or aggression, you want to step back; otherwise, if there aren’t any signs of problems, start with 5-15 minutes and separate the animals again. Keep the initial introductions short; too much at one time can backfire.

Slowly increase the time that the animals are together, but make sure that the dog leaves the cat alone while eating and using the litter box. Being bothered in either of these instances can cause the cat to distrust the dog, which is why it is ideal to put the food bowl and litter box where the dog cannot get to it.

It may take time, but during the initial stages, you want to watch for chasing, growling, swatting, hissing, lunging, and any other questionable behavior from either animal.

kitten moe and laila