Can Cats and Dogs Really Get Along?
Dogs and Cats. Cats and Dogs. Since, the beginning of time, these two animals have been rumored to not be able to get alone. But, then, many dogs and cats exist quite well under the same roof for years. I know myself, that my two dogs and three cats get along just fine under the same roof, and there has never been a fight between them. But the question still remains, can dogs and cats really be friends or do they just tolerate one another because they have no choice? What happens when you have dogs and cats as pets and they can’t get along? Do you get rid of one and keep the other? If you are like us, you couldn’t bear to get rid of any of your pets, cats or dogs.
In reality, it seems that it’s according to the breed of the cat and the breed of the dog as to whether they can peacefully exist together. It’s also up to the temperament of the dog and the cat as well. After all, no two dogs and cats are the same, so you can’t depend on the breed to determine if a dog and cat will get along or not. It is also said, that the type of experience they have had with other animals in the past will determine if they can live in the same house together as well.
In this blog, we will go into whether your cat and dog can really be friends or not and give some solid tips on how to help them get along, especially when you have no other choice, after all, nobody is going to be willing to get rid of a single one of their fur babies, if they can help it. So? Ready to delve into this blog on if cats and dogs can really be friends? We are, so let’s get started.
The Truth Behind the Myth
The old adage, “Fighting like cats and dogs,” can be true, but in many cases, it’s not. There are plenty of cats and dogs that get along and are truly the best of friends. Many families manage to share not only their hearts but their homes with both species and are happy as can be. However, that doesn’t mean this is true for every home, and those stories of cats and dogs who tear one another, and the house apart are frighteningly true. That’s why it’s so important to introduce your pets to one another gradually and be careful if they don’t seem to be getting along. So, in other words, the myth is true, but then again it isn’t.
Bringing Home a New Dog
Now, that we know the myth is and isn’t true, let’s talk about introducing a dog into your home when you have a cat already firmly in place. As most of us cat lovers already know, cats can be very territorial. What’s theirs is theirs, and sometimes what’s yours is theirs as well. This means, that often, a cat is not ready to share his territory with a slobbering mutt, who licks him and wags his tail in his face like we know Fido does on a regular basis. It’s important to note at this point, that some cats will fight other cats to the death when it comes to protecting their territory. Although they certainly can’t kill your new dog, it won’t be for lack of trying, if the cat feels even the least bit threatened. It might help to keep your new dog on a leash, at least until your territorial cat gets used to him, then gradually allow them to be around one another, a little bit at the time.
Bringing Home a New Cat
Bringing a new cat home for the first time, with a dog that is already established in the home can have its own set of perils. A dog that feels like he is threatened could very easily hurt your feline pal, or worse. Dog’s are, of course, bigger and stronger, so please be careful and keep your cat away from the dog for the first few days. It’s important for you to allow your dog to come to getting to know the cat in his own time, not by forcing them to be together.
Tricks and Tips to Help Your Dog and Cat become Friends
There are a few tips and tricks out there that can help you when it comes to having both cats and dogs in your home. We will go into a few of them below.
Go by Personality, not Breed
Regardless of what many people believe, certain breeds of cats and dogs don’t always get along better together than others. Instead, it is best to not worry about the breeds of the pets you are trying to introduce and instead worry about the types of personality they each have and the type of energy levels they have as well. For example, if you have a dog that is territorial and aggressive, it might not be a good idea to have that dog around a cat that is extremely skittish. By the same token, you wouldn’t want to have a timid, aging canine around a rambunctious kitten that is constantly into everything. It’s important to do your homework when adopting a new pet as well, to ensure that the new dog’s personality won’t clash with the older cats and vice versa. If you somehow end up with two pets in your home that have differing personalities, it’s important to have a backup plan to make it work.
Train Your Pup Ahead of Time
When you know that you are bringing home a cat, especially if the cat isn’t weaned yet and you have a few weeks, start training your pup right away. Start training your dog to curb his impulse to jump on anything that moves. For example, if your dog goes on high alert when he sees a ball or a squeaky toy skitter across the floor, he probably won’t do well with his new feline pal. Instead, keep the dog away from the cat until you have him trained a little bit better.
Give Your Cat his Own Territory
It’s extremely important for your cat to have their own territory in your home. You should create a safe space for your feline pal, whether they were in the home first, or they are the new pet in the home. Set your cat up a few spaces around the home, that they can escape to when they need too, without the dog being able to reach them. It’s also important for them to have some sort of a refuge where the dog can’t get to them at all. It’s also a good idea to keep the dog away from the cat’s litter box, as that’s where the cat does his business and he should feel safe and comfortable in that area. If he doesn’t feel comfortable in that area, he may find a place to do his business that he does, and that won’t be good for either of you, now would it.
Let Them Both Follow Their Noses
If at all possible, let your cat and dog sniff each other’s bedding and toys before you introduce them face to face. In this way, they can catch each other’s scent and hopefully be prepared to meet without getting into an out and out tuff war over who your home belongs to.
Plan the First Meeting Between Your Cat and Dog Very, Very Carefully
In many respects, dogs and cats are just like humans, as in you only have one chance to make a great first impression. This means that you should try and plan that first meeting between the two, very, very carefully. The one thing that these two animals have in common is that they both love food. So, use that love of food to your advantage. For example, the first time you bring the new cat, or the new dog, into your home, do so at mealtime. Don’t feed them together, however.
Instead, have a solid closed door between them, while they eat. Feed them both at the same time. They won’t be able to get to one another but will catch each other’s scent while they are eating their food. Eventually, still keeping them separated, feed them with a screened door or gate between them, so they can see one another, but not reach each other. Keep introducing them at mealtimes this way, until you feel confident that they won’t attack one another. Still, keep your dog on a leash and be very careful with both of them, until you are absolutely sure they are going to be friends.
While this might seem like an awful lot to go through to make sure that your cat and dog are friends and can live in the same house in peace, in reality, if you want to be able to have both in your home, you may have little choice.
Keep Their Food and Toys in Separate Places
As previously stated, cats and dogs are both pretty territorial creatures. Keeping their toys and food in separate places is important, even after they have gotten used to one another. Cats have a bad habit of walking up to a dog’s bowl and eating their food. You have no way of knowing if your dog is one that will attack over his food or not. The best way to avoid this is by having different, designated feeding times for your pets. Feed your dog without your cat in the room, and then when you feed the cat, put his food up somewhere that the dog can’t reach it. This means that you can’t have free feeding time at your house, but dogs and cats need designated feeding times anyway, to keep them healthy.
Try to Raise Your Pets Together from the Beginning
It’s much easier to make a dog and cat be friends if they are raised together, to begin with. This means getting them as a puppy and a kitten so that they can be introduced to one another from day one. In this way, neither of them becomes territorial, because they were raised together and don’t know that the other one shouldn’t even be there, to begin with. However, even with this being the case, it’s still important to keep a careful eye on your dogs and cats, because as some people think, they can become enemies really quickly, and as we stated earlier, “Fighting like cats and dogs,” isn’t just a saying, it is the truth.
Still, Keep Them Separated when They Are Unsupervised
While your dog and cat may get along great and be the best of friends, it’s still not a good idea to keep them together when they aren’t being supervised. This doesn’t mean you can’t watch TV in the other room. What it does mean is that you shouldn’t go to work or to the grocery store and leave them alone to fend for themselves. Instead, have a designated area where each animal is put for safety when you’re going to be out of the home for any length of time. Make sure that the areas are secure, so no unfortunate accidents happen.
Hopefully, this blog will help you with the question of whether cats and dogs can really be friends. Our blog has gone into everything from keeping them separated to keeping their food bowls separate and more. If you are going to open your home and heart to both a cat and a dog, then these are tips and rules you should take to heart to ensure that both animals are protected and loved to the best of your ability and more.
- MF: 8 Tricks to Help Your Cat and Dog Get Along
- Bonnie and Clyde: 3 Tips to Make Cat and Dog Good Friends
- Pawstruck Press: Cats: Dog’s Best Friend?