“Fighting like cats and dogs” is a pretty common catch phrase, but it isn’t always true. I remember being shocked as a kid when I discovered that my family’s cat and my grandparent’s dog got along just fine. Cats and dogs can tolerate each other, even grow to be good companions and friends.
If you’re considering playing both sides of the “Cats are better pets.”, “No, dogs are better pets!” game in your own household, check out these tips from Iams on how to help cats and dogs get along.
Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match….
If you have a dog and are thinking of adopting a cat, first help teach your dog how to behave around cats. If your dog doesn’t respond well to commands like sit, down, stay or come, work on improving thier response to avoid problems down the road.
If you have a cat and are thinking of bringing a dog into the family, try to find a breed that has a reputation for being accepting of cats. Usually, huskies, terriers, sight hounds and herding dogs get along best with cats. Try working together with your local shelter, breeder or pet store to find the right fit.
Animals need time to get to know each other. They are more likely to fight or be unhappy if you try to force them together, so be sure to make proper introductions. Pick a spacious room, have a helper with you and keep tasty treats on-hand to reward pets for good behaviour. You might want to make sure your cat’s claws are trimmed and that dog’s are kept on a tight leash. Depending on your pet’s personality and prior experiences, the introduction period may take a few days or up to a few weeks. Be patient and be sure to provide a safe place for each pet to retreat to when they want some alone time.
Dinner time is alone time…
Feed cats and dogs their meals at the same time but remember to give them their own space by putting them in separate rooms or separate parts of the same room. Cats and dogs tend to eat at different paces, and they also have different nutritional needs, keeping them separate during meals is important to their health. It is not a good idea to feed dog food to cats or cat food to dogs as their primary source of food. Dogs are omnivores, and cats are carnivores and they therefore have distinct dietary needs that are unique to each species. Many dogs like to snack on cat food, and having separate feeding spaces keeps your cat from losing meals to the dog. Dogs generally find cat food more palatable as it often has a higher content of protein and fat, especially the canned variety. Cats are more likely just curious and will eat out of the dog’s bowl just to show that they can. If you need help keeping the dog out of the cat’s food or vice versa, visit iams.ca for ideas or ask your vet for advice.
To help your cat or dog feel safe while adapting to the sounds and smells of other pets, make sure to keep them company. Remember to have special bonding time with each pet individually and be sure they all know whose boss. Don’t leave them alone together for long periods of time and do supervise any activities that may have caused problems in the past.
True friendship takes time to build….
Don’t let all of those cute pictures online of cats and dogs snuggling together fool you. Remember, not all pets are meant to be best friends from day one. Don’t worry if your pets merely tolerate each other, friendships take time to build.