Introducing a dog and a cat can be a very interesting undertaking. If you don’t do it right, it could be downright disastrous. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways to get a dog and a cat to interact well together, besides the common techniques that include introducing them when they are puppies and kittens.
You can introduce older animals, and have them tolerate each other at the very least, and in many cases, they will actually get along and like each other. These are common when introducing a new dog or introducing a new cat.
Today we are going to take a look at a few things that you can do that will help you to have a calm household, even when bringing in new pets.
Get Some Baby Gates
One of the first things you might want to consider is putting up some baby gates around the house. This is going to keep your pets separated, but still able to see and sniff each other, so they can get to know each other before they both have free reign of the house. Some people suggest putting the cat in a carrier, but this doesn’t give them a lot of freedom to move around. When you put gates up, the dog can’t get near the cat, and they can have their much-needed privacy.
You don’t even need to put baby gates up all over the house. The most important thing is to put one on the doorway of the room your cat frequents most often. If you are bringing a new cat into the house, choose a room for them, and make sure that you have their food and litter pan in that room. That way, they won’t have to go to another room and risk running into the dog until they get to know and are used to interacting with each other.
Know the Cat’s Background
Many people will tell you that you need to find out about a dog’s background to make sure that they’re going to be okay around cats. But, a lot of people don’t realize that you need to learn about a cat’s background as well as the cat breed. It is important to find out if a cat has been socialized with dogs and other pets. If they have, chances are that it is going to be a lot easier to introduce the new cat into your household. If the cat has been traumatized by a dog in the past, it may make things much more difficult, but not necessarily impossible. It will just take a lot more time and effort to get the two pets to socialize with one another.
Choose the Right Dog Breed
There are some dog breeds that are much better around cats than others. For instance, you don’t want to get a hunting dog, because they are bred to go after prey, and they could consider your cat their next victim. These dogs have a natural instinct to chase, and the cat isn’t going to like it much at all. If a cat feels threatened, they are going to flee, which is going to encourage the dog to begin the chase. Some of these breeds include foxhounds, whippets, Afghan hounds, schnauzers, Australian cattle dogs, and bullmastiffs.
There are several breeds that can easily be raised with cats, and they don’t have that natural instinct to chase their prey. These breeds include, but are not limited to, Labrador retrievers, Beagles, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Maltese, Bichon Frise, Pomeranians, Boxers, Shih Tzus, Australian shepherds, Japanese Chins, Cocker Spaniels, Yorkshire Terriers, and Pekingese.
Take the Dog for a Walk or Run
One little trick that often works with a lot of dogs is to take them out for exercise before introducing them to a cat. Make sure that the dog is good and worn out before bringing them home. The dog is going to be spent of most of its energy, so they aren’t going to be quite as excitable when meeting another animal, including a cat. A good game of chase or tug-of-war may be all it takes and your dog will be a bit tired and not have the energy to freak out on a cat.
The Crate, Leash, and Table Method
If you really are unsure as to how your dog is going to react to a cat, it may be wise to crate them when you bring the cat into the home. Make sure that you give them plenty of praise so they know that they aren’t being punished for anything. Once the dog is crated, bring the cat (in their own crate) into the room and put the cat’s crate on a table. Make sure that both crates are facing, so the animals can look at each other and just observe. If either pet seems to be upset, do not release them. Keep doing this until they get used to seeing and smelling each other.
The next step is to take the cat out of the crate, place the cat on the table, and give them plenty of treats to hold their attention for a few minutes. Next, leash the dog, and bring them into the room. Make sure to also give the dog a few treats.
Slowly, move the dog closer and closer to where the cat is sitting. It may be necessary to have the dog lie down between every time they make a move forward, in order to keep the cat from freaking out. Keep doing this until you can get the cat and dog to sit quietly while being about two feet apart from one another. At this point, you will know that they are comfortable with each other, and you can start increasing the time that they are together, and not have to supervise as much.
Bringing a dog and cat together in the same household doesn’t need to be tantamount to World War III. As long as you take your time and make sure that both animals feel comfortable at all times, the process should go relatively smoothly.
Guest Blogger Bio:
Chloe is a lover of all things cute and furry, with three cats and two dogs taking up most of her free time. When she does have time to blog, she likes to write about anything and everything to do with pets and pet care, and you will find some very interesting information about how to care for your fur babies on her blog, kittywise.com.