When it comes to cats and dogs living together, there are a lot of rumors and myths out there. Some people seem to think that these animals can’t get along, but that’s not the case at all.
In fact, with a bit of patience and guidance, many cats and dogs can learn to live together quite happily. So, if you’re curious about how this is possible – or if you’re struggling to get your pets to get along – read on for some tips!
Set the ground rules
Before anything else, you’ll need to talk with your pets about how they’re expected to behave. Of course, this means that you should think about the acceptable things for them to do around each other – and the things that aren’t acceptable.
For example, if you have a dog who sometimes gets rowdy when he plays with cats, you’ll want to make sure that he knows not to jump on them.
Meanwhile, if your cat is the kind who hisses and scratches at dogs whenever she sees them, you’re probably going to need her to keep this behavior in check.
If you want to get your cat and dog to live together, some rules must be in place. For example, dogs should be kept away from the litter box at all times, as they love digging through kitty feces. Set up a few play areas for your animals so that they’re not running all over your house, and make sure that there are some safe items around for them to play with.
Your dog or cat might not react well if you bring another animal into your house and then expect them to get along without any guidance. As such, it’s generally best to introduce your pets in a neutral area or to separate them at first and then gradually introduce them. Remember, this process might take some time and is often more complicated than other animals.
Invest in a baby gate
If you have a dog who loves to run around the house and hates being confined to one area, then a baby gate can be beneficial when it comes to keeping your dog in check. By installing one in your house, you can make sure that your pet stays in a particular room while also giving him a chance to explore a bit.
With a baby gate or two, your animals can hang out without being able to attack one another. This will also give them time to get to know each other and not feel like there’s a huge “threat” in the home.
Introduce your animals (if possible) by letting both of them smell each other through the baby gate first – this way, they’ll be more likely to accept one another. You can also give your cat and dog treats simultaneously and praise them, which helps to build a positive association with the other animal.
Keep them in separate rooms for a few days.
While you want your pets to get along and be comfortable with one another, it’s a good idea for them to spend some time alone if possible. By giving them both some time away from each other, they’ll be able to relax and not feel as much stress.
This will allow your cat and dog to slowly become used to the other animal’s presence in your home. Even if they don’t really like one another, you’ll be able to build a better relationship later on down the line by giving them some space.
When you’re not around, it’s best to keep them separated in different rooms. If you have to leave for any length of time, make sure that you put your dog in another room or on the other side of the baby gate.
Dogs are usually pretty good about respecting gates, but even so, you might want to make sure that they’re not able to jump them if necessary.
Let nature take its course.
Another thing you can do is let your dog and cat get used to one another on their own terms. Don’t try to force them together or pick up either animal so they can see each other – instead, give them time and space.
Once you’ve got your pets in the same room, it’s important not to rush anything. Your cat and dog need time to get used to each other – and there may be a bit of hissing and growling at first.
The good news is that most animals will eventually get used to one another and learn to live in harmony, especially if they’re introduced positively.
Let your cat and dog approach each other at their own pace. If they’re hissing or growling too much, then separate them until the next day when you can try to introduce them again. After a while of this back-and-forth, most animals will end up getting used to one another (and hopefully even become friends).
Don’t yell or punish your pet if they don’t like the other animal.
It can make things even worse and negatively associated with the other animal.
If you want your animals to get along, they need to approach one another on their terms. Letting them only meet when you hold them or putting them in a situation where they can’t escape will likely make them feel stressed out, which means aggression is more likely.
Letting your animals socialize on their own terms is key to getting along with one another.
Remember, this process might take a while and will likely require some patience on your part and regular supervision (which can be challenging if you work or go to school all day). If it’s been a few weeks and things still aren’t going smoothly, then it may be time to contact a dog trainer.
Punishing them will worsen the situation and may confuse your cat or dog. If it appears that there’s no hope in sight for these two to get along, then you’ll need to re-home one of them or look into a pet sitter.
Give them both plenty of attention and time outside together.
Spending time together is a great way to build a bond between animals. It’s essential to make sure that you give each animal the same amount of attention and praise – it can be easy to favor one pet over another (which can lead to other issues down the road).
Many people forget that cats also need socialization, which means that you shouldn’t put them in a box and not interact with them daily. They’re just as social as dogs are; it’s just that they show their love in different ways.
In general, it’s a good idea to spend time together outside on the back porch or patio so your animals can get some sun and fresh.
Another thing to consider is feeding your pets together. If you feed your dog and let your cat eat a little bit as well, then they’ll be able to smell each other’s food, which may make them a bit more inclined to accept one another.
Once you’ve entered the space where all three of you will be spending time together, you must encourage your animals to show one another some love. Give them treats if they sniff their noses or lie down next to each other.
Some experts say that it can take up to twelve months for an animal to get used to living with someone else, but in many cases, it only takes weeks before your dog and cat can coexist.
Use positive body language.
Since cats and dogs can see and hear much better than we can, you must let your pets know that one another is okay by using positive body language.
If your dog or cat starts to get scared or anxious, then you’ll need to use a calming signal like yawning. If the other animal isn’t responding well to these signals, then you’ll need to bring them back inside so they can take a break from one another.
If your pup is barking at your feline friend, you’ll want to let him know that it’s unacceptable by saying “no bark” in an assertive voice. The idea here is not to yell or punish your pet but rather teach him that he needs to be quiet.
If your pet starts to play-fight with the other animal, then you’ll want to tell him “no” and walk away from the situation for a bit. Once things have calmed down, try playing with them both together so they can start building a bond.
Reward your pets after they have demonstrated good behavior.
If they’re demonstrating positive behavior like sniffing noses or making polite conversation, then you should use a high-pitched voice and give them treats.
You can also use a toy as a reward for being good. You must give the toy to your pet when he isn’t trying to annoy or harass your other animal.
If you’re trying to get your cat and dog to share something like a bed or blanket, then you must give them each their own and praise them if they show any interest in sharing.
Reward with toys or treats to your pets so they’re more inclined to play with one another and start to build a bond.
Give your cat an escape route if it feels threatened by the dog.
Cats like to climb, and they like to be above ground. If you notice that your cat is trying to escape, you should give him an easy way to get out of the situation.
If you have a cat tree, then you should place it next to your dog’s bed so that your cat feels safe around your pup. You should also have mats or scratchers placed in different rooms so your kitty can always find a safe space to jump on and feel like he’s higher than the dog.
There are many ways to help your animals learn to get along. If you give them both plenty of time and space, then they should be able to deal with one another without any problems.
It can take up to a year for your pets to learn how to get along.
Remember that your animals are still animals. They may be able to understand some of what you’re saying but don’t expect them to act like people.
If you reward your pets with treats like catnip, they’ll start to associate good behavior with that treatment, and it will be easier to train them.
Keep in mind that it may take some time for your pets to get used to one another, so if things start going wrong, you should stop the situation immediately and try again later.
I hope this article has given you some insight into making your pets get along better. If not, don’t lose hope!
There are plenty of resources out there that will help you learn more about getting cats and dogs to live together in harmony.
Thank you for reading!
Meet Brenda Tillman: your go-to expert in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy! Not only is she a seasoned therapist, but she’s also a passionate mom blogger who never misses a beat. Dive deep into her insightful blogs, backed by her extensive coursework in Parenting Skills, Learning, and Education. Brenda’s heartwarming family – a son, two daughters, and their adorable pets – often take center stage in her writings. From parenting hacks and relationship tips to health & fitness nuggets, Brenda has been enlightening her readers for over half a decade. Stick around, and you’re bound to discover gems from a mom who wears many hats with grace!