Can a person be both a cat and a dog pet parent? Now you can be both by following these steps. Society believes in this misconception of dogs vs cats, there are sworn-in rivals and can never be under the same roof. Their temperament makes them different, while their need for some love and affection makes them a lot similar. We usually see that either a person has cats or dogs and believe one could only pet either of them. However, this is not true; these two animals that blend well together. They need some patience and good training, and based on each pet’s temperament and personality, one can enjoy both cats’ and dogs’ affection. Here is complete guide on how to introduce a kitten to dog with step by step guide, let’s get into it.
How To Introduce a Cat To a Dog?
Can Dogs and Cats Get Along? Yes, dogs and cats live together well without any hassles. However as a pet parent you need to take some safety measure. We come up with how to introduce a cat to a dog from our pet experts.
#1 Initial Days
The first step of introducing cats to dogs, keep them separate for the first few days. Start with a canine-free space for cats. Cats are content in a confined area, so preparing and constructing them within a room will not be difficult. That room should have its litter box, water bowl, food bowl, and a scratch post. Remove any plants that could be potentially poisonous to your cat, such as aloe vera, daisies, lilies, etc. Cats could be allergic to beef, pollen, certain plants, fish, etc. Take a test and check with your vet; on what things are allergic to your cat. Selecting a room devoid of any fragile or valuable items will be suitable. Cats should have their haven hideouts away from dogs.
#2 Bring Them Close
Confine the pet and avoid face-to-face contact for the first few days. It will helps to accustom them to each other’s presence. Feeding them food on the opposite side of a closed door helps associate the other with something pleasant, such as food. Reduce the distance from the closed door moving forward. Once the new pet is vaccinated and clear of any illness, they can meet face to face.
Increase the frequency of such meets and try to end the session before they get aggressive; reward them with treats for appropriate behavior. Let them leave the room when they want to, and prevent your dog from chasing your cat.
#3 Let them loose
Once they get comfortable and more friendly, leave your dog on a leash and cat under your supervision. A leash on the dog will help if it gets too exciting. Stepping on the leash if the dog is thrilled makes them realize to let it go. Arrange the meetings in your presence until they are non-hostile and friendly, and reiterate the previous steps if they show signs of aggression.
Do’s for Introducing Cats to Dogs
If you are looking for some tips to how to get cats and dogs to get along, here is some do’s and don’ts for you.
- Treat your pets according to their personality and needs and not their breeds. Be it your cat or dog, they have a personality like their pet parents, and considering this while introducing them to a new pet could be helpful.
- Allow the new pet to freely explore the house without the threat of the house pet.
- Show equal amounts of love to both pets when they meet.
- Train your dog and cat. Some cats train their kittens to use the litter box at quite a young age compared to pups. Canines are more trainable at large.
- Leash train dog when they are around your cat. Guide them when they get too thrilled and could probably hurt the cat.
- Give cats their own space. At large, cats are considered aloof to their parents. They enjoy their personal space, and when they have to share the roof with a canine friend, they prefer their sanctuary. It helps them engage with activities and perch high when persuaded by the too excited canine friend.
- Regular exercise would help divert their minds, making them less aroused or agitated.
- Raise them together if it’s feasible. If they are raised together, they are habitual to each other’s smell and presence to coexist happily without feeling that the other could be a potential threat.
- It is all about the smell. Bringing a familiar smell or introducing them to each other’s scent even before they meet helps.
- The litter box should not be close to the dog. It should be kept in a place only accessible to cats.
- Discourage them from an eye stare. Generally, staring is the last phase in the animal world before they battle it out for the alpha-male position. Canines and felines take it as a threat and a sign of authority. Domesticated dogs use eye contact with their pet parents as a persuasive technique, while cats don’t consider it a threat if that gaze comes from their pet parent. But, getting that from another animal could bring out the dominant, aggressive nature in any cat.
- Never make them share their bedding or toys. Unless we made them share their toys and beds, they wouldn’t like it. Cats could be very particular if they feel their space is being invaded.
- Be careful of dogs with a high predator instinct when bringing kittens near them.
- Never scold or threaten the pet.
What To Do If It’s Not Going Well?
Usually, animals with good experience do get along very well. It could not be easy to handle them in some cases despite their training and reinforcement. They should be chosen not according to our needs but according to other factors like age, breed, personality, past experiences, and compatibility. If keeping them apart doesn’t work out very well, medical help should be sought. A pet trainer or behaviour consultant could sort this out much quicker. If not, they could advise someone who could. Not intervening in this behaviour could be difficult to train and manage later in their lives.
Precautions Need to Take While Introducing Cats to Dogs
- Canines tend to eat cat food, keeping a cat’s food out of reach should be practiced. Like cat food, they are also inclined towards cat feces, although it doesn’t have any health hazards. Feces could contain harmful bacteria and parasites.
- For a canine nose, cat poop smells like any other food. This could be because the feline digestive tract is comparatively short, and some traces of undigested nutrients could be present.
- Booby Trapping the litter box would keep your dog and your cat away from the litter box. Some litter boxes are equipped with an automated cleaning mechanism, but your dog could reach out before the next cleaning cycle. The only way to keep your pet from this icky behaviour is to keep the litter box away from your pooch and reward them when they do so.
- Diseases could be transmitted from the little snack that your canine had from the litter box. Parasites such as roundworm, tapeworm, etc., could be passed from cats to dogs through infected fleas.
With dedication and time, one can have both cats and dogs live happily under the same roof, but a lot goes into consideration when bringing a new pet to a house. Factors like time, personality, compatibility, training, experience, and willingness to accept are a few. There could still be some cases where, despite training and reinforcing good behavior, they may not seem to go along. In such cases, you should take medical help or reconsider the decision to have another pet.