Another guest post from Emily Parker.
I can’t believe that the last time we had a post from Emily was back in July, 2016.
You may not recall but Emily’s background is a cat parent to 2 lovely cats, Gus and Louis “Gus only has one eye, but we love him all the same!”. She has lived with dogs in the past and can’t wait to add a dog to the family again. She writes about all things cats at her blog, Catological.com.
OK, that’s enough from me.
Here is Emily’s guest post.
Adapting and Overcoming Stereotypes: How Dogs and Cats Can Live Harmoniously Together
By Emily Parker, Catological.com
For a dog and a cat to live harmoniously in one home is a goal that many pet owners want to achieve. Before this happens, some variables need to be considered to make a good relationship between pets work.
As the pet parent, it’s important to be in tune with the tendencies and personalities of your pre-existing pet, be it a dog or a cat, and the inclinations of your new pet if you want them to live harmoniously together.
Personality is More Important than Breed
While most people pay attention to the breeds of dogs and cats when it comes to the aspect of getting along, experts argue that taking their energy and personalities into account is more important. For example, if you already have a dog that’s known for its aggressive ways don’t adopt a skittish cat. In a similar manner, an aging dog may not enjoy living in one household with a lively and playful kitten who is always interrupting the peace.
If you already have pets whose personalities don’t match, this is where your backup plan should be used. You should set up a living arrangement wherein they are separated as much as possible, while providing them each with as much loving attention as possible.
If you’re adopting a new pet, do your research and ask the caretakers if it has lived with other pets before or if the pet has a hard time getting along with others.
Give a Cat its Own Space Before Introducing it to the Dog
While most dogs are quite extroverted animals, cats need space – something that they can call their own. It’s just their nature, and you should respect that. Make sure that you provide a space that your dog won’t be allowed to navigate, so your cat can confidently mind her own business without triggering a fight with her canine brother.
Cats are natural climbers, so it should be easy to take advantage of your home’s vertical space. Prepare a cat bed atop a shelf or a bookcase, or install a cat tree that your dog can’t reach. This will allow your cat to observe your dog from across a room or from a distance.
Make sure the cat’s litter box is away from the dog, too. Cats have long been observed to hide while doing their business, and there’s also the tendency of dogs to chew on cat poo that you should be concerned about.
You can install baby gates if you must – just make sure to do everything in your power to keep a dog away from a pooping cat!
Make Sure Your Dog Has Plenty of Physical and Mental Exercise
It’s important for dogs to have their energy released someplace else other than your home so they can slow their brains down and practice restraint whenever they’re around your cat.
These are creatures that require a lot of stimulation; otherwise, they might end up chasing the cat. To prevent this from happening, practice high-intensity trick training, lure coursing, or herding-type activities with your dog.
Don’t settle for just walking, if you can help it. You can do a sit several times on each block and do direction changes now and then. You can also practice speed changes.
Dogs should be able to let go of their herding instincts around cats, and you can help them achieve this by ensuring that your pet is always active, both in mind and in body.
Should you lack time for these activities, you can always enroll your dog in daycare or hire a dog walker instead.
Allow Your Pets to Follow Their Noses
Before introducing the dog and the cat to each other, allow them to sniff each other’s toys or beddings first.
This will satisfy their curiosity as to who the other pet is in the house, and serve as an introduction. It can also prevent turf wars in the future.
While your new pet is safely tucked away in a spare room, rub him down with a clean towel, and then present it to your existing pet to sniff, and vice versa.
Plan the First Meeting Properly
As with most humans, first impressions count, so make sure it all turns out well for the dog and the cat.
After you’ve introduced scents, you can have a visual meeting, preferably behind the safety of a baby gate or most-closed door.
After they’ve been able to smell and see each other a few times, it’s time for the main event.
Your cat should always have a clear escape route during this meeting, and you should not force the issue. If possible, take control of your dog without being aggressive about it, to ensure that he doesn’t chase the cat.
You may have to do this multiple times before everyone is comfortable with each other, always making sure you praise your dog for calm behavior, while ensuring the cat isn’t forced into a meeting from which she has no escape.
When it comes to food, the choice you make may depend on how well the two pets get along together, though I’d recommend having meal time in separate places or times if possible.
Separate Each Other’s Toys and Food
Always keep your pets’ separate. Some cats are known to be nonchalant with the company of an eating dog, even walking around the dog while he’s eating to try to eat from the bowl. Many dogs will allow this, but don’t be so sure on your pet. Don’t assume that your dog won’t get overprotective with his food bowl. (Not to mention dog food is not appropriate for cats to eat.) You can prevent mealtime wars by scheduling regular mealtimes and place the bowls in separate parts of the house.
While some pets won’t make an issue of this, you can give yourself the best chance of a peaceful home by making sure their toys don’t get mixed up. Competition over toys can start a fight. Some dogs have taken into catnip as well. So always segregate.
Consider Raising a Cat and Dog Together
Compared to introducing them to each other as adults, it’s easier if each pet meets each other at a young age
Puppies are typically easier to train than adult dogs who have become set in their ways, and they can be taught to not harm a kitten or just to leave it to its own devices. Kittens are incredibly curious and playful, and will associate the dog as a friend and will get used to its company as she grows into a mature cat.
But then again, it never hurts to be cautious!
At the end of the day, your duty as a pet parent is to keep watch over your pets and make sure they’re well fed and safe within your home. With proper guidance, training, and a whole lot of patience, it’s not impossible for a dog and cat to live together peacefully.
Now I took the following picture from another blog and when you visit that page you can read another account of cats and dogs living together.
But I will close with that image because it is so perfect!