Keeping everyone happy in a multi-pet household

by Sojos | September 07, 2012

“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.