“Fighting like cats and dogs.” Everyone knows that old chestnut has a shred – or maybe more than a shred – of truth in it. Nevertheless, plenty of pet owners love both dogs and cats, so mixed-pet households are a definite reality.
Pet parents know that finding a balance that keeps the fur from flying can sometimes be a challenge, but with a few adjustments, everyone can get along just fine.
Make the proper introductions. If you’re bringing a new pet into your home, it’s essential that the meeting with existing pets is carefully orchestrated. Simply turning loose a new cat is a recipe for stress – for you and the animals. Let the animals get a good look at each other before allowing interaction, and gradually allow them more time together, under your supervision.
Keep food separate. Dogs and cats have different nutritional needs, so it’s essential that they don’t get in the habit of nibbling from each other’s bowls. Avoiding free-feeding will help cut down on the potential for cross-species food sampling. Free-feeding is also a big no-no when it comes to feeding raw dog food or cat food, so make the effort to get all of your pets on a set feeding schedule.
Give each pet a place to retreat. Your pets will feel safe and secure when they have a place to call their own in the event that they get distressed. Crate training dogs will help them feel that they can find a calm spot in their kennels, but it can be a bit trickier for cats. A climbing structure with a comfortable, high perch can help kitties get away from dogs when they want to. Alternately, consider installing a cat door that dogs can’t fit through to allow your cat access to a room of your home.
With supervision and careful socialization, dogs and cats really can live harmoniously together. Providing proper care and guidance as a pet owner will ensure that yours is a household with happily co-existing critters.