Are you a dog lover who has loved the company of your furry friend for a long time? But now having seen adorable kitten videos on YouTube, can you also not stop the idea of having a cat from creeping into your head?
Or maybe you’ve had a cat for the longest time but your beau is going out of town and you need to take care of their dog over the weekend. Anxious?
We’re sure you’ve watched more than enough cartoons about cat and dog fights and are probably terrified at the thought of having both of them in the same house. Well, it can surely be daunting and we’re not denying that it will be quite a challenge to have them get along. So, here are a few tips which will make the task a bit easier, and maybe…just maybe, even awesome (?)
Step 1: Create Enough Space for the Pets
Firstly, PREPARE! Before you get too ambitious and jump straight to introductions, make sure that your pet and your house is ready. It is essential to have enough space in the house for two pets. Make sure you don’t shift or disturb the current pet’s sleeping spot or favourite places in order to accommodate the new pet as this will only cause more fights. Prepare sleeping arrangements, litter boxes and food bowls beforehand so that once the pets are together, you have your hands free just for controlling them. If you are not prepared with the essentials, get them NOW!
Step 2: Protect the Pets from Harming Each Other
Protect the cat! Yes, we know that dogs are the friendly, innocent creatures and cats are the meanies from hell, but seriously, dogs are the natural predators and when they see a moving object, they attack it. When this moving object, is a cat, things might not go down too well. Even if the dog’s intention is only to play, defensive behaviour from the cat can cause a fight to break out and that is the last thing we want. A way to avoid this situation is making sure that the dog gets enough play and energy beforehand so that he is considerably calmer before meeting the cat. Make sure the cat has a safe place to hide. Yes, cats can attack dogs too and those sharp claws are for good use, so make sure there is a balance between the two.
Step 3: Separate their Rooms, Toys, Beds, Treats and Basically EVERYTHING!
Start off slow. Animals are extremely sensitive and do not adjust to new creatures and situations as well as humans do. So, give both parties enough time and space to get used to having another animal around. Confine both to separate rooms until they’ve had enough time to adjust not only to a new house but also to the smells and sounds of the other animal. Make sure they have all the necessary items such as food, bedding, Play Toys, etc. in their rooms. Another idea you can try out is to alternate the animals and their rooms. While they may take more time to adjust, they will at least have the perfect opportunity to learn each other’s environments and most importantly, smells.
Step 4: Leash the Pets for the First Meeting
When it’s time for the final introduction, keep either animal, preferably the dog, on a leash for some extra control. Monitor both the animals and if possible, keep them engaged in similar games and activities instead of a direct introduction. Read the pets and their reactions to figure out how fast or slow you should go and how ready they are. Either pet, which is comfortable with physical contact, can be held in your arms so they have the feeling of safety and familiarity while meeting the other animal. Like children, animals get jealous when there is a new entrant. So while you’re parading around the house preparing for the new pet and when it comes, showering it with love to make it feel comfortable, don’t forget your pet. This can only work when the old pet is ready to share its space and the owner’s love.
Final Round! GO!
After the first introduction, separate them quickly and then, keep introducing them for small amounts of time. After this, you can increase the lengths of these interactions. Discourage any negative behaviour from either party and reward positive interactions with treats. Stock your shelf with Pet Treats! Animals are sharper than you think and they will definitely form a link between getting along and getting treats and cuddles. Once they know this behaviour is something that will be rewarded, they will be getting along in no time.
If the animals have a similar personality, they should get along as once they enjoy each other’s presence and ways, they will enjoy having a playmate other than you. Remember to go slow as forcing a relationship will only backfire. Don’t panic if they do get into a fight as it is only normal. But make sure that they eat together or have some time together afterwards to fix up. Lastly, treat both animals with equal amounts of love and they will be ready to get along for the sake of your affection!