Are you thinking about adopting a dog but are afraid the cat won't like it? Or do you already own the two animals and they don't stop fighting? While many cats and dogs don't get along well at first, there are ways to get them to get along with each other. By using a few measurements and understanding what you both need, it will be possible to create a happy, peaceful and healthy environment even when having a dog and a cat under the same roof.
Part 1 of 2: Introducing the animals to each other for the first time
Step 1. Prepare the presentation
Whenever you are going to bring a dog or cat to a house that already has one of these pets, or want to make them understand each other better, it is necessary to build a good foundation so as not to cause misunderstandings. Start by checking if your house has enough space for the two animals to have their own corners, each adopting a part of the house to settle down. It is important to keep them separate from each other for a few days, ie you need to have several rooms in the house.
- Also see if the dog obeys your commands. If you don't obey, he'll need extra training to follow orders. Don't let the dog and cat's first date be unpleasant due to the puppy's aggressiveness and excessive jealousy.
- When introducing a dog to your new home or having a puppy that hasn't yet been trained to obey you, you'll need to be even more careful about meeting a cat.
Step 2. Take it easy
Never let the dog chase the cat around the house, keeping them apart at first and waiting three to four days before actually “introducing” them, face to face. Animals need time to get to know the smells they emit, as well as getting to know their new home better before dealing with another animal.
- Dogs and cats are much more likely to fight or be unhappy if you force them to live together suddenly. Leave them in separate rooms and away from each other until they are both calm.
- Start mixing up the animal scent. For example: pet the cat and then the dog, and vice versa, always keeping the pets in separate rooms.
Step 3. Switch the rooms they stay in
That way, the cat will sniff the place where the dog stayed and vice versa without them being together. Odors are very important for animals to get to know each other; allow them to smell each other before they come face to face.
Rub a towel on your dog and place it under the cat's food bowl. This makes the pussy get used to the dog's odor, accepting it
Step 4. Let the dog and cat smell each other under the door that divides them
This helps to associate the new smells felt with a specific animal, even if they can't actually see it.
Try to feed the animals only separated by a door. This forces them to get used to the odor of the other animal
Step 5. Introduce the cat to the dog only when the cat is relaxed and ready
If the cat is scared and runs and hides when the dog gets near the bedroom door, it's necessary to give it a little more time. Once the pussy is more used to the dog's smells and sounds, place them face to face.
Step 6. Hold the cat in your arms until he is calm and relaxed
Then ask a relative or friend to bring the dog on a leash into the room. He should approach slowly, in small steps, waiting for both of them to calm down before approaching. Do not allow physical contact between them, just get used to each other's presence.
- Only hold the cat in your lap if he likes it.
- Wear long sleeves to protect your arms from scratches.
- Another option is to keep the cat inside a cage or box and then bring the dog on a leash. This way, there is no risk of physical contact between them during the first meeting.
Step 7. Show love in similar amounts to both of you while introducing each other
Just like people, animals are jealous when someone new arrives and gets more attention than they do. Both pets should realize that they are equally loved and that you are not afraid of the other animal.
Step 8. Separate the animals one more time
Don't force them to interact for a long time; this will just make them angry and possibly lead to conflict. Their first meeting should be quick and pleasant.
Slowly increase the duration of the meetings between them
Step 9. Continue to make the animals interact and feel more relaxed in each other's presence
As soon as the cat appears to be more comfortable, release it while the dog remains on the leash. After a few weeks of doing this, the dog should get used to not running after the feline, and it can be released as well.
Another option is to use pheromones – which can be purchased at pet supply stores – so that you both stay calm and relaxed. Ask a veterinarian if he thinks using synthetic hormones can help the cat and dog get used to each other
Part 2 of 2: Getting Them Used to Living Together
Step 1. Separate animals when you are not at home or near them
You should do this for a long time, preventing them from fighting and getting hurt.
Step 2. If the dog adopts negative behaviors towards the cat – such as barking or playing with excessive force – have him expend his energies on other activities
The puppy will need to be distracted by something else or be trained to be more obedient instead of concentrating on “playing” with the cat.
However, try not to scold the dog under such circumstances. The situation must be positive for the animal, so that it will associate you positively with the cat in the future
Step 3. Reward and pet the dog when he behaves the right way around the feline
Being friendly or even ignoring the cat already shows that the dog is taking a more correct posture with the feline around. The owner can also contribute to this, being positive when the cat is around, not being aggressive or just paying attention to him.
Say, for example: “look, little dog! The kitten has come to you! Good!”, always with a happy tone of voice. Give the dog a treat; this will make him associate pleasant feelings towards the cat
Step 4. The cat should always have a place where it can be out of reach of the dog
It could be a baby fence blocking the way to a room or a tree for cats and letting them “escape” a bit. Cats generally attack dogs only when cornered and with no other way to avoid them.
Step 5. Your expectations must stick to reality
If the dog or cat has never lived with another animal before, it is normal for him not to know how to handle the situation at first. Furthermore, it is impossible to predict how the dog will view the animal before being introduced; like a toy, a prey or just out of curiosity. Likewise, the cat may regard the dog as a threat or just be curious about it. Realizing that it may take a long period of “acclimatization” between them helps the owner understand that it takes a little perseverance to get used to each other.
- Don't have a favorite. Sometimes fights occur due to jealousy. If the dog senses that the cat is getting more attention, it may respond negatively.
- Introduce one pet to another while still new. They will be able to adapt better to the idea of living with another type of animal. However, puppies are not always aware of their strength, accidentally hurting kittens while playing.