Although there is a myth that cats and dogs are irreconcilable species, the truth is that both can coexist perfectly in our homes. In this article we are going to give tips to make living together satisfactory for everyone.
The relationship between cats and dogs
The first thing we must bear in mind is that between kittens and puppies there is usually no problem and the most common is that, if we present them as children, they coexist without having to apply any special measures.
In the same way we must know that there are cats that do not tolerate dogs and dogs that, by system, chase and attack dogs.
If we have verified that our pet acts in this way, it is not prudent for us to introduce another pet and, if we have to, we must directly have the support of a professional.
These are extreme cases, in general it is possible to make cats and dogs live together, as we will see.
Preparing the home
Although we may be lucky enough to find a particularly sociable cat or dog that accepts other animals without having to make any special presentation, the truth is that, especially if we are talking about cats, it will be more common for us to have to make a progressive adaptation .
For this we can use pheromones , which are substances that we will find on the market in various presentations and that have a calming effect.
There are them for dogs and cats. Before introducing a new animal we can start using them, especially if we have a cat at home since they tend to get stressed with changes.
We also have to prepare a room where the newcomer will be installed at the beginning so that the meetings take place gradually.
The first contact
The most important advice when presenting a dog and a cat is that we are completely calm.
Both animals can tell if we are nervous , so they will also get upset and that could lead to conflicts. Of course, we will always have to be present since, if the reaction is bad, the animals could get hurt.
In fact, until the relationship between the two is consolidated we should not leave them together without supervision. It is also key that the first contact is not forced.
If we have a cat and we come home with a dog, we can show him his space but not go looking for the cat, but wait for him to come closer . In general you will prefer to approach when the dog is still.
It will smell it and, most likely, it will snort and go away. This can be a good start and we can conclude the first meeting. On the other hand, if we have a dog and we introduce a cat, it is best to install it directly in its room, where we can include a blanket or towel used by the dog so that the cat can adapt to its smell.
Then we can enter with the dog, better secured on the leash, with the cat raised to a certain height and with the possibility of fleeing, since they feel safer if they can observe from above.
As in the previous case, it is normal for both animals to smell each other and for the cat to huff, which does not usually have major consequences.
If the first contact has been satisfactory we can repeat it. It is normal that the cat’s snorting continues or that the dog tries to sniff the cat a bit roughly. They also have to know and set their own limits.
We will always be close in case it is necessary to separate them. The encounters can become more frequent until we leave both animals free around the house.
At that time, it is recommended that the cat has furniture to walk through if it does not want to be within reach of the dog. We must also leave their food in a high place to prevent the dog from eating it.
Similarly, the dog cannot have access to the litter box to avoid coprophagia and make it uncomfortable for the cat, which could cause disposal problems in inappropriate places.
If the cat was first, these changes in its accessories should be gradual. At first, we should leave them separate again when we go out. Hopefully soon we will see them sleeping together, licking, rubbing and even playing.
We have said that a cat snort is to be expected but if we see that it adopts a threatening attitude, with its ears back, its mouth open and its hair bristling, it is time to remove the dog from your sight .
In the same way, a dog that stares at the cat while it remains still and begins to growl and show its teeth is warning us that it is about to attack.
They are extreme and minority cases, but if in each encounter we attempt we obtain this reaction, we must consult with a professional specialized in animal behavior and, above all, never force contact or leave the animals together as the risk of attack is very high.