Dogs & Cats – can they live in harmony?Back to overview
Are you thinking of adding a feline to your furry friends? Can dogs and cats actually live happily together? Yes they can! It is important to remember that slow and steady wins the race, and gentle introductions are much more likely to result in your cat and dog becoming firm friends.
Firstly, make sure there is a safe place for your cat to retreat to, away from the dog. From the start, let the cat settle in their own haven, quiet and cosy, with all the general cat essentials. Let the dog and cat know there is a new resident in town, by exchanging bedding, so they become familiar with each other’s scents and don’t have to worry about confronting each other immediately. If possible, try and swap bedding before you get your new cat as scent is an important form of communication for cats and dogs so it is preferable that they get to know one another’s scents before they meet!
Even if you don’t have a child, a stair gate could be your saving grace. It is an excellent way to let the dog and cat see each other, in their own time, but providing the safety barrier that you might need. If this isn’t possible, then the next best thing would be to keep the dog on a lead in the house, so you can control the introductions and avoid any unwanted chasing!
If there are positive interactions via the stair gate or lead, reward the dog with treats or attention, whichever your pet enjoys most. Just ensure you prevent any chasing (dogs on trailing leads in the house work well also) and give the cat time to watch and approach. Keep interactions short and sweet.
It is important that good relationships are maintained even if initial introductions seem to go smoothly. Cats like to be up high, so do ensure that there are plenty of places where your new cat can settle and feel secure. Ensure you feed the cat and dog separately, in different areas, so no competition is created. Let them have their own space, no one wants to spend every minute of every day with someone.
Written by Emily Craven (Hide) RVN
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