One of the many stereotypes given to us by Hollywood is that dogs and cats are enemies. However, in fact, they are just wary of each other and can be great friends, if given a chance. Since there is no direct competition between them, they can be a good fit if both animals have the right temperament and age. If the dog or has lived with another animal before, he or she may initially show interest in the new roommate. However, if a ten-year-old cat has never been around other animals before, he or she probably never learned to share territory with other pets and that can be problematic.
Very close relationships between dogs and cats are usually the result of a good early experience and socialization of both species. Whenever introducing a new pet into the mix, it is important to have realistic expectations. Some animals are naturally more social than others. Cats especially are very territorial and need to be introduced to other animals very slowly to give them time to get used to each other. Slow introduction helps prevent fear and aggression problems from developing.
If you anticipate a problem, it’s best if you keep your new cat and dog separate. Confine your new cat to a medium-sized room with a litter box, food, water, and a bed. Next, you’ll want to place your animals food dish on each side of the door to the room. This will help them slowly get used to each other’s smell. At first, don’t put the food so close to the door that the animals are too upset by each other’s presence. Cats are picky eaters and might not go near the food if overwhelmed by the dog. Gradually move the dishes closer to the door until your dog and cat can eat calmly, directly on either side of the door.
Switching sleeping blankets or bets between your new cat and dog can give them a chance to become accustomed to each other. Rub a towel on the animal and put it underneath their bed.
When it comes to first meeting, put your cat into a carrier and let them smell each other. You have to watch their reaction carefully. If the cat feels trapped in the carrier, he or she will feel vulnerable and act aggressively or scared. You can expect mild forms of aggression, but don’t give them the opportunity to intensify their reactions, otherwise they will associate the other pet with a negative feeling and they might never get along. The first meeting should only be brief and you’ll have to repeat the process a couple of times before they become comfortable with each other.
Once both animals have gotten used to each other, allow your cat to roam freely through the house. You can control your dog by keeping them on a leash and with dog treats. If either animal becomes aggressive that means you’re progressing too fast and you should go back a few previous steps.
Switch Living Areas
Another trick you can do is to trade spaces between your dog and cat. Allow your cat to roam free and put your dog into the cat’s room. Again it allows each animal to be familiar with the other’s scent and allows the new cat to become familiar with the new surroundings without being frightened by the other animal.
If nothing works then call a professional immediately for help. The longer the aggression goes on, the harder it is to control. Unfortunately, occasionally a pet can be injured in an encounter. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us HERE