At Bayshore Animal Hospital, we love cats and dogs just as much as the next person! However, the relationship between these two types of fluffy critters is not always amicable. Both animals may struggle to get along on their own, but they are not inherently enemies – they may just need a little help from their caretaker. Every animal is an individual and will react to different environments in different ways, so let’s ditch the stereotype that cats and dogs are mortal enemies and read over our 5 tips to help your pets get along!
Personality Matters, Not Breed
Many pet owners fall into the trap of thinking that specific breeds of cats and dogs share certain temperaments but breed actually does not matter at all when getting a cat and dog to accept each other. Rather, take their personalities into account when determining their capability! An older, territorial dog may feel upset about a younger, energetic cat violating their space, while a solitary cat may not be thrilled about a dog sniffing their face. Know your pets and keep these things in mind.
Give Your Cat Its Own Space First…
Cats need to have a place of their own to feel safe in before you turn their world upside down with a dog. This space will become their base camp of sorts once they must share a home with another pet. We recommend utilizing the vertical spaces within your home that a dog cannot get to, since cats are natural climbers and more likely to access and spend time there. With this safe space, your cat can always retreat whenever they do no want to be pestered.
…Then Give Your Dog Plenty of Exercise
A dog that is not getting enough exercise is going to exert himself in ways that may be undesirable like, say, chasing your cat back and forth throughout the house! Dogs need a lot of stimulation, and many of them may be receiving as little as 20% of the activity that they need. Instead of going for a simple walk around the block with your dog, try changing direction multiple times, changing speeds, and even stopping for a sit multiple times to give your dog the routine he needs.
Plan Out the First Meeting
Our pets will only get one first impression with each other the first time they meet, and this can be a very delicate thing to manage, but slow and steady will win the race! Schedule the very first meeting at mealtime and be sure to keep the dog on a leash and both pets on opposite sides of a closed door. This way, they will not see each other yet, but they will smell each other and begin to associate that smell with mealtime – and that’s good! Who doesn’t love food? Repeat this process carefully for several weeks before starting visual stimulation and ease them into mealtimes without impeded sightlines or leashes and they will start to eat side-by-side.
Keep Their Food Separate
After you have gotten the cat and dog used to each other – and only after – separate their food bowls and only feed them individually at specific and different times. A dog who sees a cat approaching his food bowl may lash out with some territorial instincts, and competition over toys may also prompt some conflict. Try keeping their food bowls on opposite sides of the house and have a specific feeding time for each pet.
Cats and dogs are not natural enemies, they can blossom into wonderful friendships as long as their owner is giving them nudges in the right direction and appropriate amounts of privacy. It takes time for these two animals to adapt to each other but be patient, it is only a matter of time until they become best friends. If your household pets are not getting along well, consider seeking help from a behavior consultant instead of using punishment. For all their other needs, we are happy to assist with everything ranging from emergencies to nutritious diets and healthy teeth. Bayshore Animal Hospital is staffed with a leading team of passionate veterinarians to make sure that all Port Orange and Ormond Beach pets get the best possible