Both cats and dogs make great pets but put them together and you might have a more challenging situation on your hands.
Whether you’ve already got a cat at home and can’t resist that cute little puppy or want to get a kitten as a playmate for your older dog, many people believe that dogs and cats are going to fight constantly if they share the same space.
dog That might be true based on their personalities and how they are introduced.
But the good news is that there are several tricks and tips you can keep in mind to help your cat and dog get along better, whether you’re introducing a new dog or a new cat.
Cats and dogs can definitely share the same space well and get on if they have your help.
Train Your Dog
If you have a dog at home and are considering getting a cat, make sure that your dog is well-trained before you take the leap. Teaching your dog to control his or her impulses is the first step in setting them up for a good relationship with a future pet cat.
If your dog is the type to jump the moment they see a person walk up the garden path or run across the room at the first sign of a squeaky toy, then you can probably expect them to be the type to chase cats too.
Some training sessions might be in order and hold off on introducing a cat until you can trust your dog to stay still and calm. If your dog has high energy, make sure that he is getting enough exercise each day to burn it off and consider changing his dog food.
Let Your Cat Get Its Own Territory
This one might not be so difficult if you’re bringing a puppy home when you have a cat, but if you’re adding a cat to a household where there’s already a dog present, it’s a wise idea to give your new cat a few days at least to familiarise themselves with their new home before meeting their new canine friend. This will give the cat a chance to get used to their surroundings and acclimatize without any big surprises, and allow them to decide which parts of the house are their territory beforehand. It’s a good idea to give your cat access to spaces where the dog isn’t allowed to go that they can call their own. Take advantage of the vertical space in your home to provide tall cat trees and perches they can retreat to when they need to get some space.
Keep Food Separate
Keep your cat’s and dog’s food bowls separate. No matter how convenient it might be for you to feed them both at the same time and in the same place in the morning and evening, it probably won’t work out all that well for you and your pets. Most dogs are partial to cat food and dog food isn’t great for cats, as it lacks essential nutrients.
The last thing that you want is for your pets to be getting all competitive over who gets the most breakfast. In addition, some dogs and cats aren’t very keen on eating with an audience and would much prefer to just be left alone to get on with it in their own space.
Keep the Dog Away From the Litter Tray
Being startled or frightened while using the litter tray can be quite traumatic for some cats, and could even lead to them refusing to use the litter tray for its designated purpose in the future. Keep your dog away from the litter tray to ensure that your cat has somewhere that they can go to use the bathroom in peace.
You can do this by using baby gates that your dog can’t jump over or use indoor cat flaps that your dog won’t be able to get through or are microchip-activated so that the cat can easily get into a private room when they need to go.
Consider Raising Them Together
It’s always much easier to introduce animals to each other when they are young since they’re not as hormonal or as territorial as an adult pet. Getting a puppy and a kitten together might be hard work but it can be incredibly rewarding if you are able to do so. Dogs, in particular, are smaller and less confident when they are puppies.
They are better to play companions for kittens, who are also much more playful and inquisitive, making them more likely to get along. If you have an adult cat or dog at home already and want to get another pet, a puppy or a kitten will be less threatening and easier to integrate into the household than an adult pet. Alternatively, if you want to rescue a pet, consider a dog that has lived with cats before and is used to them, or a cat who has experience of sharing its space with dogs.
Introduce them Carefully
No matter the age, training, or experience that your pet has had in the past with other pets, how you introduce them will set the stage for the rest of their relationship. You can do this with the help of their pet food by feeding them at the same time at either side of a closed door, allowing them to get used to each other’s scents and presence without actually having to come face to face with one another.
Do this for as long as is necessary before you make the big introduction. You might want to consider opening the door a tiny amount to see how each animal acts on the other side. If they appear to be friendly, it might be time to think about letting them meet carefully.
You can also help the introduction along by scent swapping, which involves letting each pet take turns using each other’s blankets or beds to help get them even more used to each other’s scents before the meeting.
Dogs and cats might be traditionally thought of as pets that struggle to get along, but this is certainly not always the case when you take the right steps to introduce and get them used to each other.