To go along with our most recent article entitled “Dogs vs. Cats: Revisiting a Discussion from Childhood” where we settled the debate on which pet is better—or so we would like to think—we thought we would also give some advice on what to do if you are a fence sitter and decided to get both a dog and a cat.
Wild Inside Your Cat
If you have any experience with dogs, you have likely noticed that they can be quite territorial; they generally do not like newcomers and may begin barking like crazy if a mailman approaches the front door or if another dog moves in nearby. Dogs will readily defend their territory, sometimes with murderous intent.
While not typically as loud as dogs, cats will also express their territorial instincts by meowing and scratching at intruders. However, trying to find a genuinely intimidating house cat might be a bit of a challenge. While their scratches may hurt and can cause real problems if they manage to get a human or animal in the eyes, a decently large dog can end a cat’s life.
Tame Your Tiger
Obedience is necessary to get cats and dogs to live together peacefully. Because dogs may aggress against cats and can pose a sizable threat, your dog will need to learn to obey. When you say “No” (capitalized for emphasis), your dog should stop whatever he or she is doing.
Here is a little trick that will help to ensure your dog is acquainted with your cat even before their proper introduction: Put your dog in a room where he or she will feel comfortable and can play with some toys. Encourage your cat to walk around your house to spread his or her scent. After a few hours, put your cat in a room just like you did with your dog, and let your dog check out the house. Your dog should hopefully pick up on your cat’s scent.
Introducing Dogs and Cats
Now comes the introduction. As alluded to earlier, dogs bark when they see another animal enter their territory. A dog’s bark is an effective scare tactic, even against humans. As such, dogs do not necessarily feel compelled to immediately lunge and bite at perceived intruders since barking often suffices to scare off other animals. Still, it might be a good idea to keep your dog on a leash when introducing a new pet. As soon as your dog begins barking, make sure to sternly voice your disapproval with a commanding “No”. Given enough time and control over the situation, you should see your dog is no longer as threatened by the cat. Once your dog begins to relax, let him or her sniff the cat, and if your dog no longer feels compelled to bark, it signifies that your dog is beginning to recognize the cat as part of the family.
After the introduction, you will need to give your cat and dog some time to become more familiar with one another. Cats can often be hardcore loners, and so you may need to find some way to get the two pets to hang out in the same room while under your supervision; this will help both animals feel comfortable with sharing the same territory.
Dogs and Cats Friend Or Foe
Cats and dogs are far from fated enemies. Instead, they are both unique animals that need some time to become familiar with one another. Once they do begin spending time with each other, they may even become friends. Just do not be surprised if your particular cat and dog only remain casual acquaintances. Friendships cannot be forced. All you can do is give each pet the love they deserve.