If cartoons have taught us anything, it’s that cats and dogs are “mortal” enemies. Or are they?
It’s not impossible to have both a feline and canine in the same household, some even get along and will go as far as becoming best furry friends. However, this doesn’t happen by magic, nor does it usually occur overnight.
If you are thinking about adding a dog to your family (and to your cat’s life) check out these 5 tips to make a cat and dog get along.
Tip # 1 – Prepare Your Cat For Change
Cats are creatures of habit, so prepare Fluffy for any changes that will have to be made before Fido comes home. This includes putting up the baby gate, closing off certain doors, and placing your dog’s kennel.
Thinking of these changes from your cat’s perspective will help you with the process. For example, if you have to move the litter box, don’t place in where your cat will have to walk directly past your dog’s kennel. This will create stress and fear in your cat, which could lead her to not wanting to use the litter box.
Tip # 2 – Watch the Dog
Your new puppy may look sweet and adorable, but according to Katherine A. Houpt, James Law Professor of Behavioral Medicine (Emeritus at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine) if there’s going to be a problem it will most likely be caused by the dog.
This is due to the nature of the canine species. Dogs are “pre-programmed” to chase any rapidly moving object (in this case your cat). So it’s important to stop this habit before it even gets started.
In this same line of defense, always be sure to have your dog restrained to prevent him from chasing after the cat. This is particularly true in the herding breeds such as the Rottweiler.
Tip # 3 – Get a Baby Gate
For the safety of both your animals, it is highly recommended to get a baby gate to help keep the two separated. This allows for slow introductions without your cat feeling the pressure of being in the same room as the dog.
A big no no is to hold your cat up to your dog’s face as a way of introduction. This can cause your cat to lash out or even for your new dog to nip.
Tip # 4 – Age & Background Will Play a Role
When it comes to introducing a cat to a dog, youth can be a virtue. This is because a puppy can be less “dangerous” to an adult cat and kittens generally tend to be fearless.
However, be sure to still follow the above tips to ensure the first meet-and-greet goes well. In addition, you may also want to extend the separation period. This is due to the fact that puppies tend to be a bit goofy when they want to play. When this happens, a kitten will scurry away, enticing your puppy into a chase-mode.
Another point you will want to take into consideration is the background of your dog. This is particularly important if you are adopting a dog from a shelter. Although this is a noble and worthy cause, you can’t be sure of the canine’s back story.
Was he given up because he detested the feline species?
Get all the information you can before you make your final decision.
Tip # 5 – Make it Pleasurable
No one wants to do something that is unpleasant, the same goes for your cat (perhaps even more so). Making the introduction to a new dog should be a positive experience.
This can include using plenty of praise and treats for both your cat and your new canine companion. Also, having your new friends share a meal can go a long way in the process.
Of course, they’re not going to eat from the same bowl but feeding them in close proximity to one another will create a feel-good moment for both the animals.
Cats & Dogs – Best Friends Forever?
It may seem like an impossible task, but cats and dogs can become bffs. Follow the above tips and don’t give up if things don’t go as well as you hoped. Time tends to mend, so have patience and give both your fur babies plenty of love and reassurance.
Who knows? One day you may be surprised to look over and see the two of them snuggled up together.