Getting Cats & Dogs to Coexist
Who says dogs and cats can't get along? Though the two animals are extremely different, and we've seen countless TV shows and movies where they despise each other, experts believe that they can get along, which is good news for parents who are both cat and dog lovers. Dr. Travis Arndt, medical director of the American Medical Center of Mid-America, says, "There really is not an innate reason to suggest animosity between dogs and cats." The keys to having the two interact peacefully? Considering your current pet's personality and the way you introduce your new pet to the family.
(Photo Credit: Kevin Turcios)
Dr. Arndt says, "Dogs or cats who have easygoing, laid-back personalities that have been well socialized to other animals and people, and in particular dogs that have a good grasp of common obedience training, tend to be easier to introduce to other animals." Pets who have been well trained will listen to parents when instructed to leave another pet alone, and this makes it easier for parents to predict how a new interaction will go. Parents also need to take into account how their individual pet typically acts around other animals; if your dog barks at cats then it could take longer to make an introduction. Additionally, age also plays a factor; an older pet might not want to be around a younger, more active pet.
So you've taken your pet's personality into consideration, now what? It's going to take patience and planning.
- Start by refreshing your pet's training.
- When making the introductions, always take things slow and ensure a parent is there to supervise and use treats and praise so both animals have positive associations with one another.
- If you cannot be present when both pets are around one another, keep them separated.
- Watch for any type of defensive behavior, and if it occurs take a step back and move slower.
- Give cats high safe spots that pups can't access, and keep dogs on a leash for extra caution.
Allow pets to get comfortable naturally. Remember that there is no exact formula for introducing new pets to one another and that it could take longer than you anticipated. In the end, having patience with your pets can help create a harmonious home for everyone.