Trying to get dogs and cats to get along can be a difficult task that many animal lovers face. The phrase "fighting like cats and dogs" comes to mind. But as many adorable videos show us, cats and dogs can get along in harmony and become the best of friends - it just takes a little bit of patience, understanding, and putting yourself in your pets' paw steps, so to speak. Here are a few tips and tricks to help cats and dogs get along better!
1. Provide each animal their own space.
Both dogs and cats are territorial animals; in fact, a lot of cat behavior has to do with changes in their perceived "territory," including scratching on furniture. An animal that feels like its territory is being threatened or invaded will be stressed and anxious. So it's important to provide them with their own space or little "safe haven." For dogs, who are natural den animals, crate training is a great way to give your dog its personal space - while also keeping them from chewing up your belongings when you're out running errands.
For cats, who are natural climbers, a cat tree with some height will offer your cats a safe spot that the dog can't reach or scent mark. If things are getting tense between Fido and Whiskers, a cat tree offers your cat the perfect getaway. Consider a tiered cat tree with several cubbies or compartments that offer your cat plenty of space to hide and de-stress. Featured below is the Jungle Gym Cat Tree Condo, available for purchase here!
2. Consider personality - not breed.
If you're looking to adopt a new animal and introduce it to your current pets - make sure to do your homework. Contrary to popular belief, certain breeds of cats and dogs don't really get along better than others. Instead, it's more important to consider the actual personalities of both animals, as well as their age and energy levels. If a dog tends to be more aggressive and territorial, it may not be the right it for a home with a skittish, nervous cat.
An older dog (or cat) probably won't enjoy a crazy kitten or puppy dashing all around the house. It may take time to find the right fit - but it's worth it for the health and happiness of the entire family.
3. Introduce through scent first.
Scent is a major part of how animals interpret and interact with the world. Before introducing cats and dogs face-to-face, let them sniff each other's bedding and toys. This will satisfy their curiosity over this new roommate and help to ease potential territory scuffles.
4. Ease into face-to-face meetings.
As with introducing two cats to each other, introducing a cat and a dog should be done slowly. Start off the meetings during feeding time - with a cat eating on one side of a door, and a dog eating on the other. They won't be able to see each other, but They will begin to positively associate each other's scent with food (that sweet manna from Heaven). So that strange new scent now becomes associated with comfort and food!
After a week or so of this feeding routine, you can introduce visual aspects. Instead of a closed door, consider a dog gate or screen, before finally removing it altogether.
5. Exercise your animals' body and mind!
Like humans, cats and dogs both need exercise - both physically and mentally - to stay happy and healthy. A bored dog might find an outlet in harassing the cat - or vice versa! An unstimulated cat might swat at a dog who's just minding her own business because hey, it's something to do.
Make sure to provide your cat and dog lots of exercise and stimulation so they're less likely to get satisfaction from wrestling with their canine (or feline) friends. Try taking 15 minutes to play with your kitty, working with a few toys to see what type they like best. Do they prefer a wand or teaser toy? Or are they more of a laser pointer fanatic?
Ideally, you'll want to find a toy that is fun for both you and your cat. The Mouse Hunt Cat Toy is an interactive toy you can control from your phone while your cat does all the work and chases the mouse. It's a fun, enriching way to play with your cat after a long day at work - and your dog may enjoy it, too!
It may take some time for your cat and dog to get along, but with a bit of patience and understanding and a lot of love - they'll be friends in no time! Or at the very least, good roommates. 😉