The expression ‘like cat and dog’ does not directly indicate harmony and friendship. Yet there are plenty of families where these rather different pets are real buddies.
When you get a puppy and a young kitten at the same time, your pets will probably grow up together and become friends for life. It becomes more difficult if you already have one of them and the other is an ‘intruder’.
If you already have a dog and you get a cat
For a dog it is easier to accept a newcomer than for a cat, because dogs are pack animals. They are used to living in groups and accepting other animals. Here are a few tips to help a dog and the new cat to get used to each other:
The cat must be able to feel at ease. Make sure that he always has an escape, such as a scratching post or a high cupboard to climb on.
Be relaxed, because your own mood reflects on your pets.
- Keep the dog on the leash in the beginning so that you’re in control, and do not force anything. Holding a cat in front of the dog’s nose is asking for trouble. The cat must approach the dog of its own accord.
- Pay a lot of attention to the cat and always give him something tasty, so that he will associate his new roommate with a reward.
- Make sure your pets can go their own way. A flap to the garden where both dogs and cats can pass through is ideal. Tomsgates dog flaps are sturdy enough for the heaviest dogs and effortlessly used by tiny cats, because they only have to push the bottom slat.
- Have patience. Sometimes it clicks immediately, sometimes it takes weeks, but eventually cat and dog will find their own way to interact peacefully or even friendly.
When the dog is the newcomer
If you already have a cat – or cats – the acquaintance is usually more problematic. Females generally have more difficulty accepting a dog than males. Cats are creatures of habit. They do not like change and do not accept it when the new roommate gets more attention.
Whether you want a cat to get used to a new dog or vice versa, the most important thing is not to force anything. Provide an environment in which both animals can feel safe and receive equal attention.
Reward them when they behave well in each other’s company and take them apart as soon as tension grows. For example, when one of the animals begins to fixate the other. Give them time and let them find a rapprochement themselves. Sometimes the ice is broken within a day, sometimes it takes weeks, but if you deal with it relaxed and consistent, all will be fine in the end.