A lot of people think that cats and dogs have always been mortal enemies, that they will always be mortal enemies, and that there is no way that they can live together. This simply is not true. But, this doesn’t mean that you can throw a cat and a dog into the same room together and not expect some sparks to fly.
There are steps that need to be taken in order to ensure that cats and dogs can not only live together, but actually get along and even like each other. Today we are going to take a look at some of the things that you will need to do if you want to have cats and dogs living together in your home.
Get Them Together Early
If you really want a cat and a dog to bond and get along, it is best to get both while they are still very young. At this point in their lives, it is unlikely that they have had any bad experiences with other animals, so they are still curious and trusting. In most cases, cats and dogs that grow up together do tend to develop close bonds with one another.
Keep in mind that puppies are larger and stronger than kittens, so make sure that any interaction is supervised until you know that they are able to play safely together. Also, puppies often don’t know when to stop, and the kitten may be done playing and bring out the claws. Supervising their time together will keep little mishaps from occurring.
Find the Best Combination
Ideally, you will get your cat and dog as babies. But, let’s say that you want to adopt adult dogs and cats. How are you going to do this? First, you need to find the right match. You can’t just bring in any cat and expect it to get along with your dog. It may be easier to bring a kitten into a dog’s home, or a puppy into a cat’s home. If you are trying to get two adult animals to get along, there is going to be a process.
If you already have a dog, you need to look for a cat that is used to dogs. If you already have a cat, you need to look for a dog that is used to being around cats and isn’t aggressive towards them. A feral cat isn’t a good match with any dog, because they are distrusting to begin with. Talk to your local shelter and ask for help to find the best candidates. Certain dog breeds tend to be better with cats than others, and some dog breeds, such as terriers and herding dogs, aren’t always good to have around cats.
Start Out with Scents
Before you bring a new animal into the home, bring its scent into the home. Whether you currently have a dog or a cat, they are going to notice any changes in scents around the house. Obviously, they are going to look for the source of the new scent. Make sure that you are putting the new pet’s scent on furniture, cushions, carpeting, etc. The more the scent is around, the sooner your current pet is going to get used to it. Then, it should be easier to start introducing the two pets.
Introduce Them Slowly
You will need to be extremely patient when introducing a cat and a dog, as it is something that needs to be done very slowly. It can take several days to a few weeks just to keep them from wanting to kill each other on sight. Never force the two animals to be together. This is simply a recipe for disaster. Let them get to know each other in their own time, and on their own terms.
For the first few meetings, it is a good idea to make sure that the dog is always on a leash, so you can control the situation if it should happen to go awry. Cats should be kept out of biting range of dogs, and dogs should be protected from kitty claws.
If you already have one pet, make sure that they are able to have their own safe space away from the new pet. Cats are very territorial, and they do not appreciate it when other animals invade what they consider to be their personal space. Speak softly to both pets, and make sure that you spend quality time with them, both when they are together and separately. This is to ensure that they are not going to end up jealous of one another.
Once the cat and dog are used to seeing each other around, you can start leaving them alone together in a room for a few minutes at a time. After a while, it should not be a problem to leave them together all of the time.
Separate Dining and Bathroom Areas
A dog is going to do its business outside for the most part (except during the training process), so you don’t have to worry about providing a separate bathroom area for your dog. Cats, on the other hand, usually use the litter box, and they enjoy their privacy while they are doing their business. Make sure that the litter box is in an area where the dog can’t get into it.
Also make sure that each pet has their own separate eating area. A lot of fights have occurred because food dishes are placed too close together. In time, they could end up sharing their food, but for now, keep them apart during meal times.
As long as you have plenty of patience, it usually isn’t too difficult for cats and dogs to be able to live together. You can’t always expect them to be lifelong, bosom buddies, but you can at least make it so that they can get along and not try to kill each other at every opportunity. At worst, they will tolerate each other. At best, they will be close buddies.
Chloe is a lover of all things cute and furry, with three cats and two dogs taking up most of her free time. When she does have time to blog, she likes to write about anything and everything to do with pets and pet care, and you will find some very interesting information about how to care for your fur babies on her blog, kittywise.com.