A great joy in life is having a cuddly kitten and an energetic pup as your pet companions. The question is, how do you successfully get cats and dogs to co-exist under one roof? It can often be nerve-wracking to introduce a new pet into your home. It is important to create a safe environment when your cat and dog meet. Always have patience and go slow when making the introduction. If your pets feel forced in the initial introduction, it can lead to aggression from both parties. Whether you’re bringing in a new cat or a new dog, we’ve got some great tips for you to make this introduction a success!
Socialize at a young age (if possible)
Age plays a huge factor in enabling a peaceful co-existence between your cat and dog. If possible, we recommend introducing both pets at a young age. During their puppy and kitten stage, they are still developing. Younger pets will able to grow up with each other and become accustomed to their fur sibling. They are also less aggressive and more subdued when it comes to establishing a hierarchy of dominance.
Take personality and energy levels into account
Many believe that breed is a direct link to why cats and dogs do not get along. In reality, the more pertinent factor is each pet’s personality. If you have an aggressive or territorial dog with a jumpy cat, chances are they won’t get along. The same goes for an older dog and a feisty kitten. For dogs, make sure they listen to your commands, and for puppies, keep them on a leash to start. You never want to have either pet feel threatened or forced when these worlds collide.
Make sure each pet has their own territory/space
Just like a person, pets need their own safe space. Dogs are more gregarious towards other animals, whereas cats enjoy their independence and space. Cats need small nooks where they can relax and not feel threatened by their canine companion. Designate a room just for the cat that is off limits to the dog, especially for their litter box. We also recommend placing the cat’s bed in a high place, or have an elevated cat house for them to relax.
Share the scent
Before making introductions between your cat and dog, allow them to smell the scent of each other. Both cats and dogs have a highly receptive sense of smell, which enables them to detect and learn more about other animals. Allow each pet to sniff the others bed or toy so they can get a better awareness of their new sibling.
Keep their food separate
When you introduce a new canine or feline to your household, it is important to be mindful of their behavior, especially territorial aggression. When it comes to each pet’s food, keep them separate. For feeding, place each pet in separate rooms at designated times (no free feeding!). This will help prevent your pets from eating the other pet’s food. Another helpful trick is to put their food on each side of a closed door, which allows each pet to smell the others food and presence while they eat.
Behavior in pets is highly influenced by environmental factors. Take charge of what you can control in your household. This will help make this transition a positive experience for both your cat and your dog. Break the stereotype that cats and dogs are ‘enemies’ and open your home and your heart to your growing fur family!