Do you already have one of them and are thinking of getting the other? Or are you already lucky to have one each but unfortunately, do not get along? Well, fret not! With some patience and understanding of both your pets’ needs, you can create a happy and peaceful environment at home. Here are a few tips to do so:
- Introduce the two when they’re babies
If you do plan to keep both a cat and a dog, introduce them when they’re just a kitten and a puppy. Cats who are socialized in an environment where dogs live too, learn early on that canines are not to be feared and in fact, end up becoming friendly and playful towards them.
2. Ensure your dog is well-trained
If you’re bringing a kitten into your home and you already have a dog, make sure your dog is responsive to your commands, particularly "stay" and "leave it." Cats are fairly easy to train, but make sure your dog is well-trained before the arrival of your cat so as to behave properly with its new friend.
3. Check their compatibility
Sometimes, the breeds just don’t allow for your cat and dog to get along. If your dog is a chaser, it is most likely going to make your cat get scared of his running and chasing around. So, before you decided to get either one while having one, check whether you’re choosing an appropriate and compatible breed.
4. Use appropriate introduction techniques
When introducing a dog and a cat, be sure your dog is on a leash, so that if he does gets triggered or gets rowdy, you can control him. At the same time, be sure the cat has a few safe areas such as rooms with baby gates that the cat can jump over but the dog can’t. At all times, ensure that the cat’s litter box and food dish aren’t in places where the dog can get to them or access them. Give your cat some tall furniture so that it can watch the dog from above.
5. Exercise the dog before introducing it to your cat
Take your dog for a nice, long walk or keep him busy and distracted in an energetic game of chase-and-retrieve before you bring him home to introduce him to your cat. If the dog has used up all of his extra energy, the odds are better that he won’t freak your cat out with his over-friendly, enthusiastic greetings, ensuring a smooth introduction of the two.
6. Watch out for signs of trouble
If you observe that your cat is always hiding when you’re home or that your dog is becoming aggressive with your cat or other people and pets, please consider getting help from a dog trainer or a behaviourist. These signs indicate that a professional needs to be brought in to train both of them together to learn to get along.
7. And lastly, relax!
Be aware of what’s going on with your dog and your cat, but try not to be too anxious and stressed about it. Just as with an introduction to another cat, an introduction with a dog will have its unfortunate moments of feline growling and hissing as your dog will learn his place as second-in-command in the household.
So, take a deep breath and understand that you can have a pleasant multi-species home. It takes some work, time and patience for sure, but it is worth all the effort if you’ve dreamed of getting a dog brother or sister for your cat or vice versa. Contact us right away for any queries related to your furry little best friends!