How to help a cat and dog get along
The stereotypical cat that’s aloof and uppity is grounded in truth. Cats tend to be far less extroverted than dogs and aren’t nearly so eager to run and play. Since dogs and cats are so different, it can be a challenge to ensure they cohabit peacefully. However, the two most popular domestic pets in the world can get along, and we’ve compiled a series of tips to ensure this relationship is as harmonious and purrtastic as possible. Read on for more.
Breed has nothing to do with it
Right off the bat, forget about breeds and what this might mean for cat-dog relations. Temperament and personality are far more important factors. Is your dog particularly energetic, while your cat spends most of the day napping? They’re likely to be an ill fit. Yup, like us, cats and dogs have hardwired personalities and it’s this that will ultimately have a bearing on things.
Use a leash
Keep your dog on a leash when he meets the cat for the first time (and for the first few meetings after that). You never know: your dog might suddenly think it’s a good idea to leap forward and take a closer look. Not good. The leash will not only keep the cat safe, it’ll teach the dog to maintain a respectful distance.
Rely on their noses
But before you even have them meet, have your dog and cat sniff the scent of the other separately. A good way to do this is to have them eating meals on either side of a closed door. They’ll pick up the scent of the other, but be relaxed and calm (as they’re enjoying a good meal). Soon you’ll create a positive association. That doggy smell, your cat will think, always coincides with the best part of the day.
The next step in the trick is to have them eating side by side, separated by a dog gate. Finally, after a few days or weeks, remove the gate altogether. However, keep the leash in play at first.
Cats are really good climbers. In fact, they love to take a perch above the action, as this makes them feel safe. Put a cat bed somewhere high up, so that the cat can easily reach it, but your dog can’t.
Speaking of cat beds, make sure your cat has a space in the house that’s 100% its own. Again, you can make use of the verticality trick to keep your dog at bay.
Keep your dog exercised
Experts suggest that most of us don’t exercise our dogs nearly enough. And pent up energy is never a good thing. Make a habit of walking your dog daily, or use daycare centres to pick up the slack while you’re busy at work. The more you tire your dog out with exercise, the better-behaved they’ll be around kitty.
Remember – the earlier the better
The younger the dog, the better. Pups are gentler and less aggressive, and more likely to embrace a cat. Plus, the cat will assume seniority if it’s older. As dogs age they get stuck in their ways, and this can be a challenge, especially if the cat is far younger. Try to ensure the litter tray is inaccessible
As gross as it sounds, dogs like to eat cat poo. But not only is this disturbing for the cat, it can be dangerous for the dog, and a bad habit that leads to all manner of ailments. Keep the litter tray somewhere the dog can’t reach, or at the very least, in an area where the cat has full view of her surroundings. There’s nothing worse than being ambushed by a dog in a confined space when you’re going to the toilet.