Can cats get along with dogs? The answer is simply yes. As long as pet parents take the time and follow a few simple rules to introduce cats to dogs, there is no reason why cats and dogs cannot form a harmonious relationship. Cats are notoriously independent, one of the reasons why they work so well as pets, especially for those that are best suited for a furry friend who doesn’t need that much. There may be another side to this personality trait as it can potentially make them a little antisocial and unpredictable. So when presenting a new cat in your home and in front of your dog, be patient, understanding and approach carefully – after a while, everyone should get along well. If you’re bringing a cat home where a dog already lives, follow these tips to make introductions safer and more successful for you all:
1. Prepare a room for your new Cat
Getting to know a new kitten can be tricky, with or without the additional question of existing pets. One of the best ways to make your new arrival feel at home is to make them a safe place, preferably their own room, if possible. Put a bed, a litter box, food, and water in space, then let the kitten explore alone. You may want to keep your kitten completely separate from your dog until you have a chance to get to know him first.
2. Rehearse your dog for the new arrival
Even if your dog has lived with other pets in the past, they may not be happy to welcome new pets arriving in their area. While you may think they’re going to come out great, you can never be sure what’s going to happen. Therefore, make a point to pay a lot of attention and praise to your dog when you bring the new cat home to show that they are not a threat to his love. And remember; dogs can very easily injure or even kill a kitten, so never leave them alone together in those early days.
3. Letting Both Smell Each Other
Let the cat and dog get used to each other’s scent before they are actually introduced. He strokes one animal separately, then goes to the other animal without changing and lets it smell the scent. Do this for each animal so that they can get used to the scent of the other animal before the real personal encounter. It’s best to keep changing the scent for a few days or until your dog and cat stop taking an interest in the new scent.
4. Keep Them Separate for Their First Face-to-Face
Their first meeting needs a personal meeting, but not in the same room. You want to use a screen door or gate to separate it. Make sure the kitten cannot push into the door or climb through it. The dog and cat should be able to smell, hear and see each other without touching each other. Just like with a closed door, start by feeding them remotely and slowly move them closer together over time.
5. Watch Their Body Language
At this stage, it is very important to observe their body language for signs of stress or aggression. Are you really focused on your kitten, or are you barking and whining? If you display these behaviors, you must continue to keep them separate. Ideally, your dog will watch your cat, but it will not be attached to it. You want to be able to distract your cat and respond to you.
As for your cat, you need to be calm. If you hiss, puff on your fur, growl, or fall to the ground, you will feel scared and confident. Once they both seem cold enough to each other and can turn away sometimes, they are ready to meet.
6. Improve Your Dog’s Skills
In order for your cat to feel safe, your dog needs to be checked. You need to know basic commands like “leave”, “sit” and “stay”. Before the first demonstration, be sure to spend time practicing the commands with your dog and keep the food on hand to reward your dog for good behavior. When your dog sees the cat, ask him to sit down and reward him.
If your dog has only one thing to chase your cat, chasing your cat will be his favorite activity. Keep your dog very well in motion and busy by using eating toys and rotating his toys to keep him busy at all times. You can also maintain these fun activities for occasions when your cat is loose in the house.
You never know which pet will be the herd leader, but if you take the steps to get the cat properly acquainted with a dog, and practice patience will help keep things running smoothly in the mixed atmosphere.
There are times when even the most experienced owners cannot get a dog and cat to live together peacefully. You may have a dog with very large prey or a cat who doesn’t like dogs, whatever it is. If the above tips do not work, it is a good idea to seek professional help. The first step toward a cat-dog truce is a consultation with a trained dog trainer, a certified animal behavior consultant, or a veterinarian. You can give personalized tips for pets.