It is always an exciting event when the time comes to bring home a new pet. The process of searching for that fur ball that makes your heart sing and puts a special smile on your face is an experience that can be moving and memorable for years to come. If you already have pets at home then it is certainly important that you usher in this new addition carefully and have some sort of plan. This is especially true if it will be dogs and cats living together in your home.
So how do you get two territorial animals who are classic rivals to live together in harmony? The key is to reduce stresses and be extremely patient. If done correctly and with the proper planning even pets that normally “fight like cats and dogs” can co-exist in peace.
These tips will help you introduce your new cat to your dog, or your new dog to your cat with only a minimal amount of tension for all involved… that includes you.
What to look for in a new pet
When looking for a new pet try to find one that has previously grown-up with or been socialized with other pets. A dog breeder who has cats or a cat that has been around dogs and is already somewhat comfortable with them is ideal.
Make sure your dog is fairly obedient
If you are bringing home a new cat or kitten, be sure to work on your current dog’s obedience skills. To make the integration work it is usually necessary to have control over the canine part of the equation. Your dog should respond to commands like “stay” and “sit” as well as be trained on a leash.
It is easier when they are young
The best time to make this new acquaintance is when both pets are fairly young. When pets grow up together they can easily learn the social codes of a different species. A puppy is much easier to train to co-exist with a cat then an older dog. The same is true of a kitten who will learn early how to deal with a dog’s traits.
Create a safe spot
Providing cats with a refuge room, like a bedroom or bathroom with cat-centric amenities, will go a long way for reducing stress. Your cat will feel safe in this room and you will easily be able to separate the two animals when you are out of the house as newly introduced pets really need constant supervision when they are together.
Introduce your pets gradually
A tested method that works well is to keep your dog on a lease and command them to sit and stay when being introduced to a feline. Never let the dog engage the cat in a chase and do not “force” the pets to interact. It is important to just let them occupy the same space for a few minutes while remaining peaceful. If everything goes well then reward both bets with praise or a small treat. This should be done in increasingly longer intervals on a daily basis and can take a few weeks depending on how stubborn your pets generally are. Eventually you will be able to remove the leash as the dog learns it is not acceptable to chase the cat and the cat is no longer afraid of or avoiding the dog.
Move the litter box
We might find it gross and disgusting but dogs seem to find it delicious. The tendency for dogs to make a buffet out of the cat’s litter box is off putting for humans, and cats aren’t really amused either. The best thing you can do in this situation is to put the litter box where the dog can’t get to it, but the cat still can. You can keep the litter box on a higher shelf or counter or in a room that is only accessible to the cat.
|With a little dedication and perseverance, dog and cats living together can certainly be a reality in your home. The most important thing to remember is that this will have to be a gradual process. If the proper steps are followed and stress and tension are kept at a minimum, a cat and a dog can co-exist happily for the rest of their lives.
Russ Barker is a firm believer in the concept that dogs and cats living together is not just a prophecy of the end times. He is a rockstar blogger at DogTagArt.com, a group of pet-lovers that specialize in creating fun and colorful pet ID tags. Their goal is to make sure as many pets as possible are protected with the proper identification. A custom dog tag is the perfect way to add style to any pet while keeping them safe and avoiding being boring.