Fighting Like Cats and Dogs?
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and remember when we told you about showing your animal family members some love? Well we figured we had missed something! What about the other animals in the house – especially non-dogs? Do they also show our canines some love?
Many families have both cats and dogs that live together quite happily. It’s pretty easy most of the time, even – most dogs are quite happy to have cats around and let them go about their business without bothering them. There are, of course, many dogs who don’t like cats and many cats who don’t like dogs either. Fortunately, cats are generally able to defend themselves from a curious or energetic dog with a quick paw swipe, which will teach the dog a lesson fairly quickly! As long as your cat has a way to get out of the situation if need be, they’ll be fine. In other words, don’t restrain the cat or force him or her to confront the dog.
Of course, having a well-behaved dog is key here. A dog who goes after the cat all the time without listening to commands to stop or sit will continue terrorising the cat and there’s very little hope of making them get along. Ideally, keep them separated for a while – allow the new pet, whether it is the dog or the cat, to get used to their new environment without the stress of another animal around for a few days. Eventually, give them a separated introduction where they aren’t in the same space but are still visible to one another – particularly if it’s through a gate at first. Let them approach and smell one another briefly, and end the meeting there. Repeat the brief encounters a few times over the course of a couple of days to get the animals comfortable with each other.
Smells are very important to animals, especially cats and dogs. A great way to allow the animals to smell each other without them being present is to play with one and then let the other smell your hands. They’ll pick up the scent and learn that the new animal is part of the home.
When you start introducing the pets to one another, there’s a chance that one or both of them will be stressed by the situation. If the cat gets anxious or the dog gets excited, end the encounter for the day there and then. Time and patience are very important here, and they will pay off in the future.
Lastly, your love is going to be the glue that keeps the animals’ bond together. Don’t give one pet more love than the other, especially when you’re with them both. Divide your attention to make sure that conflict doesn’t arise, otherwise you could have a fight on your hands that you won’t have much control over.
In the month of love, is it possible to get all of the humans, dogs, cats and other animals to get along and love one another? We think so!