How to Make a Cat and Dog Get Along – 6 Useful Tips for Making Them Live Happy Together
How many times you thought about getting a dog, but you avoided it because you were afraid that your cat won’t accept it? Or, if you’re dating someone with a dog or your partner wants one, you’re concern about how these two pets would get along under the same roof. So, how to make a cat and dog get along?
While there’s a general impression that cats and dogs don’t go that well together, you can make it happen. Yes, dogs are rather territorial and cats can get easily scared, making you, the owner, uncomfortable seeing them unhappy. But, even in the worst case scenario, it is possible to make them tolerant of each other. They just need a friendly, loving, and positive environment and owners.
If you already have a cat and you think that the family would be happier with a dog, or the other way around, there are several helpful tips. Besides these tips, arm yourself with a good dose of patience and a positive attitude.
6 Useful Tips On How to Make a Cat and Dog Get Along
1. Pay attention to their personalities
Contrary to what most people believe, it is not the breed of the dog or cat that increases or decreases their chances to get along. Their personalities, on the other hand, play a more important role in this process. For example, an old or shy dog will not appreciate the presence of an exuberant cat. Also, a cat that gets scared easily will have a hard time getting along with a highly energetic or territorial dog.
Ideally, you should look for matching personalities if you want them to get along as soon as possible. If you end up with two personalities that don’t match, you will have to come up with a long term plan. This plan should include keeping them separated for a good while, as the accommodation process may last.
2. The dog should be properly trained
Dogs are usually more curious and impulsive than cats, so they should be obedient and well-behaved. If your boyfriend or girlfriend has a dog and you want to move it together, the dog should be previously trained. If you get a puppy, you should train the dog to behave and listen to your commands, so you can control it easier.
But, even if the dog is trained and obedient, the first meet-ups with a cat should always involve a leash. This will prevent any unfortunate events from happening. Also, it will be easier to keep the dog from startling the cat right from the start. Lesser the stress a cat will go through, the faster it will accept the presence of the dog around the house.
3. The cat should have its own “safe zones”
Most certainly you don’t want to see your cat hidden under the couch at all times. Considering that you cannot keep the dog in the leash around the clock, you should give the cat its own space. The cat should be able to go around the house safely, without coming across the dog. In other words, if the cat wishes to avoid the dog, it should be able to do that.
This can be tricky indoors, but take advantage of the fact that cats are great climbers and jumpers. So, create refuge spaces and paths by using the vertical space of your home. Special cat trees, shelves, even placing the cat’s bed where the dog can’t reach, these all help. When the cat is in a safe area, it can observe the dog and get used to it in its own terms and pace. Of course, you can also use fences and other security measures to keep them from running into each other.
Also, you should make sure that feeding areas are also safe and each has the opportunity to eat in a calm and safe manner. Another aspect you should think about is giving the cat the chance to use its litter box safely as well. Although it may sound disgusting, many dogs do have the tendency to eat cat poop, so this is another reason the litter box should be placed somewhere out of the dog’s reach.
4. Make sure the dog enjoys a lot of exercising
A dog that enjoys a good level of exercise will be calmer inside the house and more able to control its reactions. According to the dog breed you have around, you should give it the chance to burn its energy outside the house. Thus, when the dog will be indoors, it will have a calmer state and will be less interested in chasing the cat around.
If you think that a walk is enough to allow the dog to burn its energy, you should know that you’re wrong. The dog should be able to run, chase, play, and perform exercises that truly challenge its body. So, playing fetch, running on agility courses, using lures to make the dog run, will all stimulate the dog’s body and mind. Thus, upon its return at home, the dog will just want to take it easy and rest.
5. Noses play an important role
It is recommended, both in the case of the dog and cat, to let them sniff the other’s toys, bed, blanket, and other items that may have been used. This should happen before a face-to-face meeting. Doing so will allow them to get familiar with the scent and satisfy their curiosity in a safe manner.
6. The first meeting should be thoroughly planned
The first impression counts in the case dogs and cats meetings as well. Of course, it is all about safety here and making each feel as comfortable as possible. Make sure to plan this on a day when you have sufficient time to take proper care of the entire event.
To increase the chances of success, use a passion both of them have in common. We are talking about food. Thus, the meeting should take place around meal time. But, the dog should be on a leash and there should be a closed door between them. The point is that they won’t be able to see each other, but will have the occasion to sniff each other while eating their favorite bowl of food. This method will make sensing the new scent as a positive thing, as it is associated with food.
You should do this for several weeks in a row. Eventually, you will switch the door with a fence or screen, continuing to feed them separately. When you will notice that both of them are comfortable enough during meal time, ignoring the presence of the other while eating, it is possible to remove the fence or screen as well. But, until this happens, some time will pass, so be patient.
Making a dog and a cat get along and live safely under the same roof is not something impossible to achieve. Ideally, you should raise the two together, since they are very young. So, if you don’t have a cat or a dog, getting a kitten and a puppy at the same time will definitely do the trick.
Premier Pups is one of the best places to start looking for a puppy. It is worth mentioning that puppies go well with older cats, with a bit of attention, as they are too small to bother the cat too much. Still, never let the two unsupervised until they get used to each other.