How to Get Your Dog and Cat to Be Friends

People are always saying that some people like cats, and some people like dogs. But, wait! What if somebody likes both?

Having a cat and a dog is a tell-tale sign of a true animal lover. Unfortunately, sometimes it's difficult to get a cat and a pup to be friendly towards each other right away. This happens because a cat feels overly defensive and maybe a dog likes to play a little rough. Don't worry, though. We have a few tips to help get your pup and kitty on the same page.

Understand the Potential Problems
Before you introduce your pup and kitten, it's important to understand the potential conflicts that could pop up. Remember, dogs and cats CAN be friends, but they are also natural opposites in a lot of ways. This can lead to some strife.

A dog's mindset towards a cat can come often across in one of two ways:

  • Dogs will view the cat as another dog and will try to play with them accordingly. Interaction between dogs can include a lot of biting and wrestling, which is dangerous for a cat to be involved in.
  • Dogs will view the cat as prey. The dog will chase the cat around and be very aggressive. This can be dangerous, even potentially fatal.
Cats, also, can react in a variety of unpredictable ways. Some of their most common reactions include:
  • They may be very curious and approach the dog; this can be bad if your dog isn't properly trained.
  • Cats may be extremely defensive and scratch the dog, which can be irreparable to the relationship.

Slow Introductions
Instead of thrusting your dog and cat together, try to introduce them slowly. Keep your dog and his stuff (food, toys, etc.) on one side of the house, and the cat's things on the other side of the house, especially the litter box. If a cat sees his litter box being disturbed, he will feel extremely threatened. One tool that can help separate your dog and cat is a pet gate. A pet gate will allow them to see each other and slowly get used to each other's presence. Don't be surprised if they are sniffing each other before long!

To further enhance their comfort, it is smart to use a cat and dog's sense of smell to bring comfort. One way to do this is to wipe a rag across your dog's fur and place that rag under your cat's food bowl. Pretty soon, your cat will be associating the pup's smell with pleasant things. For a dog, pet owners should let the pup smell the cat scented rag as they are petted. Then, they too will have pleasant associations.

Time to Meet

Once you feel that your cat and dog have grown accustomed to each other's presence, it's time for them to meet. Before the meeting, pet owners should take their dog out for a long walk, so he is not overly rambunctious when it's time to come face to face with his feline friend. Trust me, this will eliminate a lot of hassle.

Remember, first meetings are very important; this could dictate your pup and cat's relationship future. During this first meeting, pet owners SHOULD be present, monitoring each action. Also, it's a good idea to bring treats to reward both for positive behavior. Most likely, your cat will be the more nervous of the two, so owners should keep close contact with their kitties.

If any bad behaviors start to emerge, it's important to put a quick end to them. Hopefully after all of the preparation though, all animosity will be non-existent, and everyone will be on the way to a happy, healthy life together.

By: Tim Snyder
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