When people are not debating whether dogs or cats are more intelligent, they’re equating them as deadly foes.
Typically, cats are aloof and easily startled, while dogs are territorial and snobby. This doesn’t imply, however, that they can’t share the identical space–they are just going to want your help. “If dogs and cats are brought up together in a positive, loving, encouraging environment, they are going to be buddies,” Galaxy informs Mental Floss. “Or in the very least, they will endure each other.”
Here are eight tips that will help improve household relations between Fido and Fluffy.
1. TAKE PERSONALITY–NOT BREED–INTO ACCOUNT.
Contrary to popular belief, certain breeds of dogs and cats do not typically get together better than others. According to Galaxy and Sandor, it is more important to consider their personalities and energy levels into consideration. If a dog is aggressive and territorial, it won’t be a great fit in a family having a skittish cat. In contrast, an aging dog could despise sharing his space with a rambunctious kitten.
When two creatures don’t wind up being a personality match, have a backup plan, or consider preparing a household arrangement which keeps them separated for the long run. And if you are adopting a pet, do your homework and ask its previous owners or shelter if it is lived with other animals prior to, or gets along with them.
2. TRAIN YOUR DOG.
To set your dog up for success with cats, teach it to control its impulses, Sandor says. Does this jump across the kitchen when someone drops a cookie cutter, or move on high alert when it sees a squeaky toy? If that’s the case, it probably will not be good with cats right off the bat, since it’ll likely jump up if it places a feline.
Hold off Fido’s face time with Fluffy until the prior is trained to stay put. And even then, keep a leash handy during the first many cat-dog meetings.
3. GIVE A CAT ITS OWN TERRITORY BEFORE IT MEETS A DOG
Cats require a protected area–a “base camp” of sorts–that’s just theirs, Galaxy states. Make this refuge off-limits into the dog, but create safe spaces round the house, too. This way, the cat can confidently navigate shared territory without difficulty from its canine sibling.
Since cats are natural climbers, Galaxy recommends making the most of your home’s vertical distance. Buy tall cat trees, install shelves, or place a cat bed beneath a bookcase. This allows your cat to discover the puppy from a safe distance, or cross an area without touching the floor.
And if you’re at it, keep puppies away from the litter box. Cats should feel safe when doing their business, plus dogs occasionally (ew) prefer to snack on cat urine, a bad habit that may cause your pooch to contract intestinal parasites. These worms can result in a slew of health problems, including vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and anemia.
Baby gates work in a pinch, however as some dogs are escape artists, prepare for worst-case scenarios by maintaining the litter box uncovered and within an open area. This way, the cat will not be cornered and trapped mid-squat.
4. EXERCISE YOUR DOG’S BODY AND MIND
“People exercise their dogs probably 20 percent of what they need to really be doing,” Sandor says. “It is really important that their energy is discharged somewhere else so that they have the ability to slow down their brains and actually control themselves when they’re around kitties.”
Dogs also need a lot of stimulation. Obtaining it in a controlled manner makes them less inclined to meet it by, say, chasing a cat. For this, Sandor recommends toys, herding-type activities, lure coursing, and high-intensity trick training.
“Instead of merely taking a walk, stop and perform a sit five times on every block,” she says. “And do leadership changes twice on each block, or speed changes two times. It is about unleashing their herding instincts and prey drive in an proper manner”
If you don’t have time for any of these tasks, Zoe recommends hiring a dog walker, or enrolling in doggy daycare.
5. LET CATS AND DOGS FOLLOW THEIR NOSES
In Galaxy’s new book, Complete Cat Mojo, he states it’s a smart idea to allow cats and dogs sniff each other’s toys and bedding prior to a face-to-face introduction. In this manner, they could fulfill their curiosity and avoid potential turf battles.
6. PLAN THE FIRST CAT/DOG MEETING CAREFULLY
Just like people, cats and dogs have just one good chance to make a terrific first impression. Fortunately, they both love meals, which might ultimately assist them love each other.
Schedule the first cat-dog assembly during mealtime, but retain the puppy on a leash and both animals on opposite sides of a closed doorway. They won’t find each other, however they’ll smell each other while chowing down on their various foods. They will begin to associate this odor with meals, thus “making it a good thing,” Galaxy says.
Do so every mealtime for several weeks, before slowly introducing visual simulation. Continue feeding the cat and dog separately, but on either side of a dog gate or screen, before finally removing it all together. By this point, “they’re ingesting side-by-side, pretty much blowing each other,” Galaxy states. For safety’s sake, keep keeping the puppy on a leash until you’re confident it is safe to take it off (and even then, exercise caution).
7. KEEP THEIR FOOD AND TOYS SEPARATE.
Once you have successfully ingratiated the dog and cat using feeding exercises, keep their food bowls separate. “A cat will walk up to the dog bowl–either while the dog’s eating, or at the vicinity–and attempt to eat from it,” Galaxy says. “The dog just goes to town on them. You can’t assume that your dog isn’t food-protective or resource-protective.”
To avoid these devastating mealtime encounters, schedule regular mealtimes to your pets (no more free feeding!) And place the bowls in separate regions of the house, or even the cat’s dish up on a table or another high spot.
Also, keep a close eye on the cat’s toys–contest over toys can also prompt battling. “Dogs have a tendency to get very into catnip,” Galaxy states. “My puppy loves catnip a great deal more than my cats do.”
8. CONSIDER RAISING A DOG AND CAT TOGETHER
Socializing these creatures at a young age could be less difficult than introducing them as adults–pups may be trainable “sponges” that soak up new information and situations, Sandor says. Additionally, dogs are less smaller and confident at this stage in life, letting the cat to “assume its rightful position at the peak of the hierarchy,” she adds.
Stay watchful, though, to guarantee everything goes smoothly–especially when the dog hits its rambunctious “adolescent” stage before becoming a full-grown puppy.