Dogs and cats are usually enemies that fight over beds, toys, and the owner’s attention. They fight so often that there is a phrase, “fighting like cats and dogs.”
However, dogs and cats of all sizes are becoming best friends and blurring the enemy line. This is inspiring for all. These arch-enemies are putting aside their differences and enjoying life together. Another thing we can learn from animals.
Adding another pet is an exciting time for everyone. Gradual steps will lead to a successful and safe introduction. Follow these tips and you will be on your way to a happy home for all.
This is important when a new pet is brought into the home. This will give each a safe place that is their own. Sharing can happen over time but should not be forced. According to WebMD, make sure your cat has a place and space to run and hide. It should be off the ground where the dog cannot get it.
Watch the dog.
Katherine A. Houpt, James Law Professor of Behavior Medicine – Emeritus at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine says that dogs will cause the problem on first introduction. Not on purpose, but because of instinct. They are born with an instinct to chase furry animals that run away. That is why it is important for the dog to be restrained from chasing the cat at introduction. Be sure to have a lot of treats on hand to reward calm behavior.
Let them use their noses.
Before introducing them, allow the new pet to smell the current pet’s bed and toys to get their scent. When they first meet, set up a baby gate for safety that still allows them to smell. Do not hold one pet and let the other smell. Allow them to roam free on either side of the baby gate for the introduction, but do not allow the dog to chase the cat.
Never feed them together.
A lot of dogs are protective over their food, while cats are more open to sharing. A cat may try to eat out of the dog’s bowl and a fight will break out. Separate them until each has finished eating. That way, everyone can eat in peace.
Consider personality and age
Dogs and cats each have unique personalities and no two are the same. Think about your current pet’s age, activity level, and personality. Then if you add a cat or dog, be sure to ask the shelter if they get along with other animals. If you have a senior cat and are thinking about adopting a puppy, that might work, but the energy levels are completely different. Breed does play a role, but we have all seen the typical “prey drive” dogs cuddling with kittens. Be sure to ask questions and have a back-up plan if it doesn’t work.
There are many success stories out there of dogs and cats living in harmony. As with all great friendships, it takes time to get to know one another. Do not force them together. It is wise to keep a watchful eye on them both until they settle in.
Read about this adorable dog and cat friendship.
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Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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