We all know the common expression “to fight like cats and dogs.” It definitely contributes to keeping alive the popular belief that these two species can’t be friends. How many movie scenes have you seen where they fight and create total chaos around them? It always almost goes like this: The kitten is pestering Max who starts growling before lunging to catch him. It always ends with curtains being ripped off the wall and plants falling and staining the white carpet forever. What a disaster! In real life, cats and dogs often coexist peacefully. Because they are very different in the way they live their life, their needs, and more importantly, because their social structure differs greatly, good planning is important to avoid chaos. Here are a few useful tips and a bit of info to help your pooch and kitty get along.
A Good Match
We sometimes have personality clashes with some people and true friendships with others. The same goes for some cats and dogs! Because of their temperament, energy level, or specific needs some will be more inclined to becoming BFFs. It’s good to know that certain types of dogs, many from the terrier family, have a strong prey drive and sometimes just cannot stop themselves from chasing a smaller animal when they see one. A recipe for disaster! Of course, exceptions exist, but even if your neighbour posts daily pics of her Jack Russell cuddling her cute kitten during an afternoon nap, keep in mind that the instinct thing is real and should be taken into consideration. Furthermore, if your old cat has been king of the house for most of his life, he might not welcome a big playful puppy in his kingdom easily. In general, your best bet when adding a furry member to the family is asking if he is used to live with other animals. It will definitely make for a smoother transition.
Growing Up Together
If you have the opportunity (and patience) to adopt a kitten and puppy under a year old at the same time, it’s probably the ideal scenario not only to make cohabitation easier, but for a true dog-cat friendship. Pets that grow up together usually develop a special bond. Since it becomes their reality at a really young age to share their life with another animal, they see it as a normal part of their life. However, no matter how well they get along, you should always provide each of them with a designated spot where they can enjoy moments of calm and solitude.
If you already have a pet and want to adopt another one, an official meeting is a must! In the long run, animals are resilient creatures that adapt to almost anything, but remember that first impressions are crucial! You want to introduce a new kitty to your energetic Golden retriever? A little exercise session beforehand is a smart idea. By burning off some extra energy, your pup will be more relaxed and is less likely to scare your new little fur ball. It could also keep him safe from a painful swat in the face from the new kitty. If you have a chance to trim the cat’s claws before, it’s a wise idea. Make sure the pets have both eaten before they meet. If you can, ask for help so you can rely on someone if things go wrong. The first time they meet, it should be short and sweet, preferably in a large room. Keep your pooch on a leash and your kitten free. Let them introduce themselves in their own way. If you see any signs of stress or aggressivity, end the meeting and try again later. The first few weeks of cohabitation usually require constant supervision, so make sure your pets are in different rooms when you leave the house. The golden rule: patience and positive reinforcement. Chances are, after a little while and with sustained efforts, your dog and cat will be able to share a common space peacefully.
Fighting Like Cats and Dogs
You’ve done everything you possibly could but your furry friends are still fighting daily? Talk to your vet or a behaviour specialist. They can guide you and give you hope for a happy ending and who knows … maybe even a true (but most likely imperfect) friendship between your dog and your cat. After all, all relationships are made of ups and downs, right?