You may have grown up thinking that cats and dogs were natural rivals, but it might come as a surprise to know that these two species maintain a very antagonistic relationship. You wouldn’t want to put a cat and dog in the same place, since havoc is bound to follow. While a majority of households own more dogs than cats, there are those who wouldn’t mind keeping both as pets. The challenge, however, is teaching cats and dogs to get along.
There’s always a good possibility for a cat and dog to become great companions. It doesn’t happen overnight, but there a few great tips to help you deal in the process of building rapport between the two:
Both cats and dogs have a keen sense of smell. They use this to identify other animals and determine if there is any danger around, especially if such danger has an unfamiliar odor. That being the case, you may want your cat and dog to get used to each other’s odor first. You can swap their toys or sleeping cushions. It takes some time before they begin to accept each other’s odor, and if they do, it will be easier for them to get along.
2. Giving enough space
There will be sporadic fights during the first few weeks you introduce a cat to a dog. There will also be a lot of chasing and food stealing, so it’s always best to give both pets their own space. Cats will need a place to climb when chaos ensues, so consider getting a tall scratching post. Your dog may also need enough space to move around so they won’t invade your cat’s privacy. For this, considering installing a dog door so your pooch will avoid bullying the cat. Check out this article from The Dog Clinic to get ideas for the best dog doors for your home.
3. Training and discipline
In most cases, you can get your dog and cat accustomed to one another through obedience training. This might sound unfair, but dogs need it more than cats, since it’s part of their nature to chase around smaller animals. With a rewards system in place, you can teach your dog to refrain from antagonizing your cat. Start by getting your dog to “heel” and “stop”. You can offer a treat every time your dog stops growling or follows your commands. This also requires discipline and patience on your part. You can always hire a professional trainer to do it for you.
4. Continuous exposure
The best way you can teach your cat and dog to get along is to give them an opportunity to develop their relationship. Let them play in the living room or bring them along to an outing. Spending time with each other should help bridge the gap.
Cats and dogs might be enemies, but this isn’t always the case. Peace is always an option, so consider the tips above and let your pets rise above the idea that there will always be bad blood between the two species.
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