The general perception about cats and dogs is that when they two get together, they fight like “cats and dogs”, as in the phrase you’ve probably heard “fighting like cats and dogs”. But, in reality, it is not a “universal fact”. These two species actually can live harmoniously under one roof as well. Nevertheless there are many things to be considered in order to make this possible.
Dogs are known to be social animals that tend to live in groups. As it goes in human beings, every group has a leader and so do the dogs. Each dog in a group has its own position. Like humans, there’s a leader to the group; the “alpha” whose responsibilities are much like the human “leaders”. Then comes his vice and the hierarchy goes on. The conduct of the group determines a dog’s relation with other species.
On the other “paw”, killing of the innocent cats by “serial killer” dogs is a fact. But cats themselves are not that innocent as they seem to be. It is said that there wouldn’t be a nest with life in it, if God would have created cats with wings. We know that some people are cat lovers and others are dog lovers but what we don’t know is that many of us love both.
Dog and Cat Under One Roof
If you want to pet both species simultaneously then you have to know the personality of your existing pet. If you have a cat that is too sensitive or “shy” and you want to adopt a dog whose “hunger” for cats is too high, then you should not proceed with the idea. On the contrary, if you have a dog whose age is on the higher side and you want to adopt a cat whose nature is to avoid and doesn’t want to engage in any kind of negative activity then you will be successful in your objective.
Here are some tips that may come in handy while adopting the dogs and cats simultaneously:
• Keep in mind the nature of your existing pet when adopting another.
• After adoption, don’t introduce your pet to the newcomer directly and abruptly.
• Let them become familiar with each other’s odor first.
• Cut both the pets’ nails before their “blind date”.
• Make the first introductions short so that both the cat and dog don’t stress out.
• Take your dog for a trip outside and play with it for some time to tire him out a bit.
• Make sure both of them are on a full stomach which will make them less active.
• When your cat is around never leave the dog’s leash free.
• Make sure that the cat has access to higher surfaces to escape and perceive his new “friend”.
• The meeting is less likely to end in a fight if the dog is much obedient.
• Increase the introduction span over time to make them feel more comfortable.
Understanding Your Pets
Apart from these points you have to understand your pets too. Dogs are more likely to be comfortable and feel at home around cats if they are exposed to them in their early age, from about two to nine weeks. Not just that but the breeds that have a low voracious behavior might take less time to settle things with a cat as compared to other breeds. Here’s an important thing to keep in mind that one dog may come to terms with sharing a roof with a cat. However, if two or more dogs are under one roof, it may result in more chasing the cat and may cause serious injuries to her. If your dog has these characteristics or has injured some animal in the past then don’t even think of having a cat with him under at the same place.
Find a Correct Partner
After analyzing the nature and behavior of your dog the next thing you need to do is to find a correct partner for him according to his nature. As I described earlier that dogs that have been exposed to the cats in the age of two to nine months are more likely to settle with a cat easily and same is the case with the cats. If a cat has been exposed to a friendly dog in the specified age then your work is half done.
If you cannot find a cat that has been exposed to a dog in that time span then the best option is to adopt a kitten that is still in between the specified age and can be raised around your dog. If you are not sure of the cat’s past around dogs then you should look for a peaceful cat.
Introduce Your Alpha
After the selection of an appropriate cat for your dog, time comes to introduce them to each other. The introduction, as described earlier, should be gradual and strictly in your supervision. You can use baby gates to bound specific areas for your dog and as mentioned previously provide high surface areas to your cat to flee. Whenever you are not able to administer the interaction between your pets, like when going to the grocery store or work, it is safe to part them either with cages or in different rooms. But if your children are not good at listening to your directions to keep doors closed or your dog can open the doors then you should take measures for that too like child-proof latches, etc.
Point to Ponder
There may come a time when you have to take out one of the pets from your household. This won’t be easy and will be painful as it is not easy to put your pet’s welfare above your affection and feelings. But when their lives are at risk, you have to find a better home for your pet whether it be a dog or a cat.
There must be without any doubt millions, if not billions, of houses with both the species living in harmony. So, if you have prepared your mind for it, your house can be one of those millions.