Many of us aren't just dog-lovers, we're cat-lovers, too! Whether you're adding a new dog or a new cat to the house, it can always be risky when we introduce dogs to their "enemy." Unlike the age-old rumors, dogs and cats can actually get along pretty well, depending on their personalities! Here are some tips for helping your dog and cat become friends.
When They're Meeting
The initial meeting might be rough for both dog and cat. Here are some tips to help make it easier on both of them:
Monitor - Of course, monitor their first meeting, and for the next couple of days. You might not know how the dog or cat will react, and it's important that you watch them and have the ability to step in if needed. Your dog might have chasing instincts, and you want to make sure that they don't exactly hurt your cat. You might also consider keeping them restrained.
Give Your Cat Space - Whether you're bringing home a new cat or you're introducing a new dog to your cat, give your cat space to hide from the dog, since they'll be meeting them for the first time.
Use Baby Gates - While the introductory period is happening, consider using baby gates to separate your dog from your cat. Put up a baby gate between two rooms or two sections of your home that allows your dog and cat to smell each other without allowing your dog to enter your cat's space unwelcomed.
Train Your Dog - Whether your dog was the original member of the household or you're adding a new dog to your house, training is an important part of ensuring that your dog will keep their cool around your cat. Train your pup to control their chasing instincts and impulses. Patience exercises can help them be patient and gentle with your cat.
Keep Food and Toys Separate - Instead of putting your dog's and cat's food bowls right next to each other, be sure that they're in different rooms. This will prevent any food-protective behaviors that might cause injury. The same thing goes for toys. Keep them separate so that they aren't fighting or getting possessive of their toys.
Establish a Getaway Space - Whether your dog and cat get along well or not, make sure that your cat always has their separate "getaway" space, not just at the beginning. Their litter box, food, and water, should all be separate. You can also get cat trees or cat beds that are just for your cat, so that they can still have their private space when needed.
Forget the old "cat versus dogs" saying! Your cat and dog can get along just fine, as long as you have the patience to work with both of them to make sure they're happy.