Tips to Make a Dog and a Cat Get Along
Can a dog and cat get on well? Yes, of course, but it depends on lots of different factors. If you want to achieve a peaceful coexistence between the two species you will need to prepare properly for the introduction between the dog and the cat. You will also need to know how they will adapt to the presence of the other and what to do if something goes wrong.
This AnimalWised article will explain step by step some tips to make a dog and a cat get along. Take note of our advice and don't forget to consult a professional if your situation is really serious. Keep reading and don't forget to comment and share any doubts that may arise during the process!
Will the dog and the cat get along?
Dogs and cats are social animals by nature, but if they were separated from their litter before three months old and have not gone through an appropriate socialization process they can become solitary animals who refuse the presence of other animals.
If the two animals that you intend to introduce are already adults, you must take extra precautions. However, if one or both of them are young, the animal originally residing in your home will be more likely to receive the other one better. Every case is different.
If you suspect your dog or cat will develop a very negative attitude to the presence of another animal, it is advisable to go to a professional like an ethologist, a kind of vet specialized in animal behavior and conduct.
Introducing a dog and a cat
As we explained in our article on tips to help a cat and a dog live together, the moment of the introduction is critical for the animals to accept each other. The idea is to keep the dog and cat isolated for the first few days as the original pet usually thinks that the new pet is violating their territory.
Each pet should have their own sleeping area, feeding and drinking bowls, and various toys. It is important to try to respect the original pet's area and accessories so that they are not too disrupted by change.
For the first few days, it is useful to begin accustoming them to each other's smell in order to get used to each other's presence and start to recognize each other. Remember that dogs and cats identify each other by smell, so swapping blankets or toys is a handy step forward.
After that, begin preparing the room where their first encounter will take place. It should have a "security zone" where the cat can shelter if the dog chases them during their first encounter. Shelves or planks for cats, scrapers and multi-story houses for cats are all useful for this. It is very important to have these items if you do not want an incident.
For the first meeting, keep the dog tied to something if you are not sure what their reaction will be. If you have prepared the security zone well, you will not have to worry. Pay close attention to the dog and cat's attitude during the first encounter. If it is not positive, try to guide the dog back to their area with treats.
Repeat this process occasionally and gradually increase their time together until they begin to tolerate and respect each other. Initial grunts and snorts are normal, give them time.
Adapting to the new situation
As discussed above, it is common to have to repeat encounters between the dog and the cat so they both get used to each other and start to get along.
At this stage, there may be some mischief, especially from the cat. Reduce the cat's misbehavior by using positive reinforcement; don't punish bad behavior, but praise them and give them treats when they behave correctly.
With time, patience and the use of positive reinforcement, the dog and the cat will at least begin to tolerate each other. Remember, for some cases this is a long process. While in certain situations they will become friends quickly, others may take months to accept each other. You should keep this in mind.
What if the dog and the cat don't get along?
If your dog and cat refuse to get along, it is very important to take some safety measures to prevent seriously bad encounters. Never leave your pets together in a room without your supervision and make sure that the cat can shelter in the "security zone" whenever it wants.
Give them both the love they deserve, but equally. Don't fuss over one more than the other and always start with the animal that was already residing in your home. The first pet should always be the first to receive food and strokes, but in the same way as the new pet.
If you see bad behavior from only one of the animals, do not yell or punish them. It is important to redirect the situation positively. Do not forget that pets follow the examples set by their owners. If they see that your are restless, negative and nervous, they will probably feel the tension and this may have repercussions, making the encounter worse. Try to give off a calm vibe.
Always reward any good behaviors you observe: smelling each other, respecting each other, remaining calm... You must use positive reinforcement for everything that you like. This promotes a peaceful and friendly coexistence. Do not forget that reinforcement doesn't always mean giving snacks or treats to your pets. Praise and cuddling are an excellent booster to make sure that the dog and the cat get along better.
These are our tips to make a dog and a cat get along: do you have your any? Can't you get your pets to get along? Don't hesitate to share your experiences!
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