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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Can a Cat and Dog Be Best Friends? A Guide to Introducing Your Pets

Dogs and cats are famous for not getting along, hence the saying, ‘fighting like cat and dog’. However, there are certain ways you can introduce your pets in order for them to get along, and perhaps even become best friends in the process! It doesn’t matter if you’re introducing a dog to a cat or a cat to dog, it doesn’t have to be a chore. Here’s what to do in our guide to introducing your pets:

Keep an Eye on The Dog

If there’s going to be an issue when introducing your pets, 9/10 it’s caused by the dog. So make sure you keep an eye on him! Most dogs like to chase objects that move quickly, so if your cat gets scared and runs off, your dog will likely try to chase it - nip this behaviour in the bud before your cat gets injured. 

Make Sure Your Cat Can Run and Hide

Regardless of whether your cat is the newcomer or the older pet in your house, you need to make sure the cat can move freely when you introduce them to the dog. There should be perches and cubbies for hiding, as an elevated resting place will allow the cat to settle in. 

Make Sure Your Dog/Puppy is Restrained

Your dog should never be allowed to chase the cat. If you have a herding dog, it’s in their instinct to chase, so you may have a bigger problem. 

Think About Installing Baby Gates

Installing baby gates can help to gradually introduce the pets, and also minimizes danger to the cat. 

Remember Age Can Make a Difference

When introducing cats and dogs, youth can be helpful. Puppies are much less dangerous to adult cats, and kittens can be much braver when it comes to adult dogs. The same rules should still apply however; and you should give your supervision for as long as necessary. This is because kittens have a tendency to scurry which entices dogs, and puppies have a playful nature so will want to pester the cat. 

Mistakes to Avoid

Forcing the Animals to Get Close

You should always let the cat decide whether or not it will approach the dog. By holding the cat up to the dog in close proximity, you encourage the cat to lash out and scratch the dog, and the dog to dislike the cat. 

Failing to Know the Background of Your Dog

If you want to bring a dog into a household that has a cat, it’s highly recommended you choose a puppy, rather than a shelter dog. Puppies behaviours can be corrected and learn the proper way to act around cats, while shelter dogs may dislike cats and be unwilling to change their mind. 

Failing to Prepare Your Pet for a Change

Make small changes, like installing baby gates, moving litter boxes, and closing certain doors before you bring home the new arrival. That way, the pet you’ve had for a while can get used to small changes before the big change shows up. If you don’t, buying westgate worm count kits when your pet needs treatment will be the least of your worries!

Remember, that it can take weeks for your new pet to become accustomed to their new home. However, if you’ve tried everything above and you still can’t make your dog and cat get along, speak to an animal behaviourist who may be able to give you advice. Good luck!

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