We all know that cats and dogs don’t get along pretty well, but there are situations when these animals can live together in peace. Some pet owners have both dogs and cats in their household and don’t have any trouble with them. If you’re also wondering how can that be possible, feel free to keep reading this article!
Let’s suppose you have a dog at home, and for some reason, you want to bring a cat as well. You might think that your dog needs a friend, even a feline one. At first, it can be difficult for your dog to accept a cat as a new pet in the house, but through careful planning and gradual steps, you can foster a positive relationship between those two animals. Let’s cut to the chase:
Smells are very important in the animal world, especially when it comes to dogs. Therefore, you should allow the pets to get used to each other’s scent before you make any face-to-face introductions. You can swap their bedding or toys so the animals can become familiar with each other’s smells.
You can reward your dog for having calm and positive behavior around the cat when that happens. You can use praise, treats, and even affection to reinforce the good behavior of your canine friend. Dogs are generally loyal creatures, and they love to feel appreciated by their owner.
After you make the initial visual introductions between your dog and your new cat, you should allow controlled and supervised encounters between them. You can keep your dog on a leash and allow the cat to approach it at its own pace. It’s also a good idea to reward both pets with treats and positive reinforcement for calm behavior.
Cats are vulnerable to dogs, although they won’t usually go down without a good fight. Either way, you should provide a safe space for your new feline friend to retreat to just in case your dog becomes aggressive towards it. The safe space should be a place where a dog can’t have access, such as an elevated shelve. Cats, on the other hand, like to climb to such places and will also easily climb down from them. In this way, your cat will feel safe, and it can become gradually accustomed to the presence of the dog.
You also need to make sure that your dog understands basic obedience training commands such as “stay,” “sit,” and “leave it.” Each and every pet owner should teach such commands to his dog, as there are countless situations when they can come in handy. This can also be of paramount importance in managing the dog’s behavior around the new cat.
Respect your cat’s boundaries
Be patient with your cat and respect its own boundaries; in other words, don’t just force the feline to get along with your dog. Instead, you should allow the cat to set the pace of its interaction with the dog. If the cat shows signs of fear, you need to give it some space and time.
Each pet is unique in their own way, and similar to humans, the time it takes for them to accept each other can vary a lot. If you can’t seem to make your dog get along with your new cat, you can also seek advice from a professional animal behaviorist or your vet.