How to Make a Cat and Dog Get Along?
Tiddles and Fido might never be the best of friends, but you can teach your cossetted cat and pampered pooch to at least get along. The predatory instinct is more prevalent in some dogs but if your dog is mildly aggressive it is possible to teach him to tolerate the kitty cat that shares his home. Cats aren’t naturally fans of canines either! In fact, they aren’t even that keen on meeting other cats (or some humans for that matter). Your cat will need time to adjust to the notion of another four-legged friend sharing his space.
I have a cat already, but I’m getting a dog soon! Should I Be Worried?
As we’ve already mentioned cats aren’t always great at sharing their space, so when you bring your new dog in don’t rush things. If your dog has never met a kitty before he’s bound to be curious. Canines generally like to be sociable, he might want to say hello in his own playful, doggy way. If your cat is quite young he might put up with this friskiness and see this new-dog-on-the-block as a fun companion.
However, if you’re cat isn’t very tolerant or is older he might not be so accommodating. Expect trouble if your new pup gets a bit over-enthusiastic when playfully engaging your cat, kitty might take offence.
Even if your cat seems relatively accepting of his new doggy friend try and oversee playtime at first. Dogs have a tendency to play more aggressively than cats and if your dog is larger and stronger this could lead to problems. Cats do give off signals when they have had enough, but your dog might not read these and continue to push the boundaries. If this happens you could end up with an injured cat or dog if things get out and hand, and this will do nothing to improve the friendship between your two four-legged friends!
How Can I Encourage My Cat and Dog to be Friends?
The first meeting is important, you will want both your feline and canine friend to feel comfortable in their surroundings. Don’t make a big fuss about the new set-up. If your bringing a dog in try and get your cat to focus on you (its beloved owner) rather than the furry creature that’s just strolled in behind you.
It’s easier to make an introduction if both pets are relatively well trained and respond well to you. It is possible to train a cat to do certain things, such as respond to his name and come to you when you call. You will need patience (and plenty of treats) to master this skill but its worth it if you want your cat to acknowledge and take notice of you. Similarly, you should be able to control your dog (ideally, he should sit when asked and come when called.
If you are still concerned about remaining in control at that first introduction consider putting your dog on a lead or in a cage. If your canine is larger and stronger it might be difficult to control his initial reactions to puss (especially if he’s never seen a cat before)! Take it slowly and give your pets time to get used to seeing one another.
Encourage your dog to be still and sit when your cat first enters (this might be tricky) and this is where treats and good dog-training techniques may come in useful.
I Can Control the Dog, What Shall I Do with The Cat?
It is easier to control a dog, you can put him on a leash, or distract him with a squeaky toy if you feel he is reacting badly to the presence of the cat. Cats, on the other hand, are not quite as happy following commands. Allow your cat to set the pace and don’t try to force things.
Rewards and Treats
You will want to reward your cat and dog when they appear to be accepting of one another. Offer treats if your dog behaves well when the cat comes into the room, and when your cat is happy to get a little closer offer tasty tit-bits to encourage her. It’s a good idea to leave an escape route open for your kitty cat, so if all gets too much she can make a swift exit. Encouraging friendship needs to be all about positive reinforcement rather than negatives, don’t get cross or frustrated with your pets if they are not behaving in the way you want.
Nature Vs Nurture
Nature has deemed that cats and dogs aren’t necessarily naturally loving companions so give your pets a break – they are learning a whole new set of rules especially for you, their dear owner!
If you need to go out don’t leave the two together, even if they’ve been getting on ok. Don’t tempt fate and allow too much space – a cat and dog fight may well ensue behind your back. Nurture the friendship slowly, over time your pets could even become good friends!