It’s not an uncommon question to wonder how to make cats and dogs get along together, however, multiple steps can be taken to make this work. Each situation takes plenty of time and care so that these two seemingly natural enemies can find common ground between each other. Here are the simple steps that any pet owner can use to help cats and dogs live together happily and without much fuss.
Things To Think About Before Adding A New Pet
Whether or not you own more than one pet, cats and dogs obviously have major differences between each other. Because of these differences, that doesn’t mean each type of dog or cat will have the best interactions right from the start. Here are some important tips to consider before adding a new pet.
It’s very important to remember that all animals have different levels of temper and can easily be angered, scared, or overly excited about almost anything. With dogs, there are various levels of emotional issues that are synonymous with the breed. Smaller dogs tend to be more protective of their owners than larger dogs. Larger dogs can become agitated by visual disturbances such as birds on the lawn or even the mailman delivering mail.
Not every dog will display specific types of negative behavior if they are raised with plenty of love, whereas those who come from shelters might be recovering from early trauma from a previous owner. Even if a dog that is showing an easy-going nature can snap if they aren’t prepared for surprises. This is why it’s best to play a bit of Sherlock Holmes when new addition pets are added, so an owner needs to be prepared for anything to happen.
Cats (on the other hand), are easily scared and will get nervous from nearly anything that appears to be a predator for them. Their keen sense of overreacting can easily be multiplied by 10 when their odd behavior strikes. Yet, some cats are very well-mannered and easy-going. It’s not seen very often, but these types of laid-back cats might simply not care to show much reaction to a dog being present if it’s not threatening to them.
It goes without saying that raising dogs and cats together at an early age is the most recommended advice that’s available. Ideally, raising dogs and cats is better when they are still puppies and kittens. This can help them to form a lasting bond that will see fewer problems in the future. As house pets grow older, they begin to develop a regular territory that becomes part of their everyday lifestyle.
Anything that enters their space is ultimately an instinctual reaction of a territorial dog or cat. With this being said, not every dog and cat is totally set in their ways and can adapt to situations when a new pet is introduced. As for older pets- in either case, this will take much longer for them to adapt and start to live together. It will depend upon the age that differs between them and how settled-in an older animal that’s already occupying a home will react.
When these two different pets are first introduced, every step that follows has to consider the age of the pets. Older pets will be more set in their personality unless they are used to being around a variety of animals that allow them to be more open to living with a new pet.
Matching pets together doesn’t always have anything to do with the color of their fur or a pet’s overall size. Compatibility does have a lot to do with breed and the typical temperament that each breed is known to have. Matching a cat or dog together is best when both are sharing similar traits, but there isn’t a lot of information for which breed is going to naturally get along with each other.
There are too many variables that will always get in the way that might prove to be untrue. Compatibility can take on an element of simply existing together without incidents or negative interactions. These negative interactions often happen when each animal feels threatened within its territory, or when its food is being stolen. New pets will always take more time to adjust if they are showing hostility toward one another.
It can take as little as a couple of weeks for cats, while dogs could take as little as two or three days. In truth, there is no set amount of time if these two animals simply despise each other.
The pecking order that’s determined between cats and dogs is based on the overall age. Older cats will follow a hierarchy with younger kittens, just as older dogs do this with younger pups. When pairing dogs and cats together, their built-in hierarchy is going to be obvious based on the age of each animal. The one that became dominant within their living condition will show their dominance in different ways.
This is why even important parts of the day such as feeding times will need to be organized, so each pet is not feeling anxious. If they prove that their feeding needs are more pressing, they can show dominance by ravaging the other’s food. When there is more than one dog or cat within a residence, feeding squabbles can arise if these animals are still getting used to each other. It’s always best to keep feeding areas separated for this reason.
How To Introduce A New Pet?
When bringing a new pet into a home, this information will help to keep the peace and allow a dog and cat to become introduced easier to each other. The element of safety is always advised, so being cautious at all times is a must. Even though these two animals will be more likely to be scared of one another, small steps are taken to ensure neither pet will be harmed if they come into contact without an owner’s supervision.
Always start with very limited amounts of interaction and keep a dog and cat in a sectioned-off room. At the least, place a child-safe gate between rooms so there is an area that these two pets can be better isolated while still having some visual presence. This will keep each of the two from having any chance of being stuck in the same room until they can further adjust to living in the same space together.
As much as possible, handle both of these pets and allow the opposite pet to have a better idea of the smell they can sense already. This is done by handling a cat and letting the scent of their fur get onto an owner’s hands or clothing. After a few minutes, the reverse is done so the other pet can have a fresh introduction to these scents and become more relaxed with these new smells.
By smelling these scents on an owner’s hands and clothes, it becomes easier to introduce a new pet. For cats, this scent gland is located along their cheeks and will be easier for dogs to smell right away. Dog scent glands are picked up on their muzzle and will likely try to override the smell of a cat when they smell this. Either way, these scents should be transferred back and forth to each pet as often as possible during the first few days of interaction.
Stay calm and positive
A pet that already has been living with their owner will react better when they are greeted with positive and loving energy. Just as all animals love their owner’s attention, bringing along the fresh scent of a new pet on your hands or clothes is equally important. This helps reduce their stress level when receiving attention, additionally when they smell a strange scent on their owner.
Talking to a pet and reassuring them about how much they matter is always a big plus too. It might take several tries before a new pet’s scent is fully accepted by an established house pet. Keeping calm at all times is how to make dogs and cats get along easier. Since animals can sense when their owners are nervous, showing plenty of confidence when it’s time to introduce a new addition to a pet’s home will count for better success.
Take each interaction slow
When it does come time to introduce two pets together, it should be nice and calm. Allow just enough space to separate a dog and cat without causing a fight or raised fur. Obviously, this will occur at some point, so this is the reason why very limited meetings are begun. The amount of time it can take for dogs and cats to become comfortable around each other is a matter that’s time spent introducing them in short spurts.
It will vary between breeds and temperament and also how often they’re brought together. It can take anywhere from a couple of days or up to a couple of months, so this process is never easy for very fussy pets. This is where the ongoing introduction will be needed to allow dogs and cats to fully accept each other’s presence without problems.
How To Maintain Pet Differences
After these opposite pets have a chance to get to know each other, they don’t always bond for numerous reasons. Unfortunately, it won’t always be harmony between these two, which is why it will be the owner’s responsibility to help keep the peace. Here are some great tips for creating a safe pet environment within a home.
Provide a safe space
Cats are excellent and agile jumpers and can climb the walls or drapes if given the chance. This is why a cat will enjoy a wall ledge that’s attached to a wall for their rest and comfort, but more importantly, the perfect space for instant safety. Cat trees are also a good choice, but these can be knocked down by a dog if it doesn’t have a secure base. Anything that will be easily accessible by a cat that’s seeking safety will need a secured resting spot installed.
Training a cat to find these safe spots are as simple as teaching it to jump into bathroom sinks, where a dog can’t easily reach them. Another great idea is the rim of a window sill or perhaps cabinet shelving that has carpet attached for better grip. There is very little training to get a cat to find a comfortable spot since cats instinctively have a curiosity for climbing onto high perching points.
Dogs will enjoy an indoor doghouse or a modified hutch they can retreat to if they feel threatened by an overaggressive cat. As long as these indoor structures have a doggie door, a cat is less likely to enter these spaces when the doors are made from hanging plastic strips.
Separate pet areas
Cats aren’t as territorial as dogs when it comes to finding a favorite space, yet it’s important to keep these pets happy by placing them in separate rooms. If these two tolerate their presence in the same room, this is fine as long as they get along. In the very beginning, this separation is more for their safety until they’ve started to adjust. After this, a dog and cat will settle into their spaces individually.
Keep food separated
Because dogs are more of the culprit when it comes to stealing cat food, a cat will rarely show any interest in ordinary dog food. The need for reducing food fighting is going to be a continual task, so this is the main reason for separating their food. Cat food needs to be placed in an area where a dog cannot reach it easily. This is better on a tabletop or a raised platform that a dog can’t get anywhere near.
Adding automatic feeders that only distribute a select amount of food at timed intervals is also good if the owner has a busy schedule. This way, each animal will learn what time of day their feeding time occurs and will wait for the food to be dispensed.
Persistence takes time
All pet relationships don’t always work on a set schedule, so it really comes down to the amount of patience that an owner has for understanding their pets. With the right amount of interaction and a lot of persistence, learning how to make dogs and cats get along will show results soon enough. This can feel frustrating at times but is not always the owner’s fault for reaching a positive result.
The chemistry between two very different types of animals that cohabitate together is more about time that’s mixed within living conditions, making it better for them. Adding to that, the amount of kindness and positive interaction will help dogs and cats become more calmly adjusted instead of being thrown into a stressful confrontation with each other.