Can cats and dogs become friends under the same roof?
Knowing the fact that 44% of US household have multiple pets, which commonly is the combination of cats and dogs. it’s a challenge for pet owner to get the cats and the dog on an amicable relationship. According to the animal behaviorist expert, the owner has to understand that cats and dogs are two different species and their behavior vary according to its own breed. Some dog breeds such as Maltese, Golden Retriever, Beagle & Basset Hound which are more friendly and kind to feline.
However, please bear in mind that each dog has its own individual personality and it is advisable to match the personalities of both pets in order to establish a healthy and socialize cat-dog relationship. For an example, an old and low-energy dog might not want a new active kitten keep disturbing him. Ideally an active dog will live peacefully with an active cat and vice versa.
According to a study published by Journal of Veterinary Behavior, “One interesting finding is that it's the cat who typically calls the shots. The comfort of the cat was a stronger predictor of amicability than the comfort of the dog. Cats are more likely to be uncomfortable around dogs than vice versa. And cats display more aggressive or antagonizing behaviors towards dogs than vice versa”
For household kitten and puppy whom is growing up together as a companion since young tend to adapt to each other existence well compared to introducing a new adult cat or a new adult dog. It is a great way for bonding since the start as both kitten and puppy will learn each other body language, boundaries and its limit. For kitten & puppy, they will have a weaker teeth and jaw and you don’t need to be fearful if they fight and hurt each other.
Preparation guide for cats and dogs introduction meeting
- Baby gate or separated room
Ideally to separate the cats & dogs for a couple of weeks either via baby gate or separated room for the desensitization process. Make sure your dog will not be able to jump over the baby gate as well. You may prepare each other bedding and food container at their own individual place and make sure the dog can’t reach the cat’s litter box too.
- Obedience training for your dog
If you are going to introduce a new cat to home, make sure you refresh your dog obedience training skill so that the dog will absolutely listen to owner command during the meeting of cats and dogs. Reward your dog with treats for their well-behaved behavior and they will lose their predator instinct on the cat very quickly.
- Prepare a leash for the dog during the first meeting
This is to avoid the dog to attack the cat in the first place. Observe the dog and the cat’s body language during the first impression as cats and dogs communicate differently from human with their own language. When the dog started to feel defensive, they will stare and bark. For cat, they will start to arch their back and fluffed out their fur. In most cases, the first meet up between the cat & dog will not be a pleasant one. Take it slowly and don’t try too hard during the first introduction meeting
- Build a safe spot for the cat
You may prepare a tall Cat Tree or Perch which is for the fearful cat to hide and get away from the dog’s chase. Make a safe cat room that comes with the cat house, scratching post and plenty of cat toys to keep the cat entertained at its exclusive comfort shelter during the first few weeks of the transition period
- Swap the smell
Animal is different from human which they rely on scent to recognize, learn and behave intelligently. The pet sitter / owner may exchange the cat & dog bedding to allow each other adapt to each other body smell. Sooner or later, the cat & dog will get used to each other existence, become friends, and eat food and play together.
The benefits of having multiple pets such as cats and dogs are additional companionship for both pets. They will learn the inter-species socializing skills between the feline and dogs. It is good for our cats and dogs’ emotional development to boost up their confidence level. More pets also mean no more boredom to your cat and dog when you are busy to play with them. It helps the cat and dog to overcome separation anxiety too when the pet owner is out of home.