Despite the prejudices and clichés, dogs and cats can become good friends and live together peacefully under one roof. But for this to happen, you need to bring them together and introduce them to each other. How this can best be achieved, you will now find out.
General information on bringing dogs and cats together
If there have not been any unpleasant experiences with the other breed on both sides so far, this is the best condition for bringing them together. It is important that you, as the owner, establish a precise plan beforehand. Be clear about how you want to carry out the new move and the first encounters. First of all the different body language can be problematic. However, with slow familiarization you can also overcome this obstacle.
By the way, the easiest way to do this is to get them together when they are still young. It is important that the dog sees the cat as a member of the pack and not as potential prey. It is also easier to integrate a cat into a dog household than the other way round. Dogs are pack animals and therefore usually accept the cat better.
The preparations before dog and cat meet
It is important that the new member – whether dog or cat – matches the character of the animal already present. A cat puppy or young cat should be brought together with a puppy or young dog, so that neither side is oppressed. However, if the dog is already fully grown, the cat should be at least 4 months old. If the dog is particularly active, the cat should also have a good portion of self-confidence and not be too shy or even afraid. Older animals are best suited to quiet or equally old newcomers.
Before the newcomer moves in, the scent of the animal should already be made known to the “old-established animal” on a blanket. This way the pet can already get used to the smell. If you bring a dog into a cat household, it is also important that the cat can get used to the barking noise. To do this, first play recordings of dog barking softly, later you can slowly increase the volume.
Besides, you have to adapt the house. The feeding places should be separated, so that there is no jealousy. It is best to move the feeding place of the cat to a higher place. If this is a change for the cat, you should make this adjustment slowly, so that it does not become an additional stress factor. Just like the feeding place, the litter tray must be off limits for the dog. Dogs tend to eat cat excrement and the cat can react to such a violation of their privacy with uncleanliness.
During the first few days there must also be a room separation, so you should prepare a room for the newcomer. Here he can stay the first days and get used to the new environment. At the same time, both can get used to the smell of the other without meeting each other directly.
The first meeting of the two pets
Now the time has come for the first meeting. In principle the procedure is the same. No matter whether a dog joins the cat or a cat joins the dog. To make the wording easier, we will describe here the new arrival of a cat in a dog household.
So while the cat is already living in the isolated room for a few days, you should not neglect the dog. Otherwise jealousy can occur, which only complicates the bringing together. In addition, the cat should already – when the dog is absent – have made excursions in the house and know a little bit about it.
In any case, the bringing together of pets should be carried out with two persons. This simplifies the whole thing tremendously. There should be a stress-free atmosphere that is not disturbed by annoying noises. In addition, both animals should have eaten before, then they are in principle full and more satisfied. You yourself act as a moderator during the meeting, completely relaxed and calm. Your emotions are transferred to the animals, so do not be nervous or anxious!
The important thing is that you are patient and show empathy. You have to be aware that getting used to it can be exhausting and also time-consuming. Setbacks are normal and the pets always determine the time of the acclimatization phase. Therefore, do not dramatize fake attacks, but communicate clearly that such behavior is not desired. Additional treats relax the situation and make the whole thing a positive experience.
Once you have chosen the room for the meeting, you should put the dog on a leash or hold it. Under no circumstances should there be any hunting, as this makes the job much more difficult. It helps if the dog has been properly exercised before.
Now you let the cat in the room. She decides the distance to the dog herself! Seeing him and smelling him from a distance is quite enough for the first contact. You should not put her in a transport box, because there she has no chance to escape. If the dog reacts with barking or pulling, you should try to distract it. If he calms down, praise him extensively. If it does not get better, stop the meeting for the time being. This should also happen if one of the pets is too scared.
A higher viewpoint is beneficial, by the way, because the cat is safe here and can observe calmly. While the two pets become friends, one person each should turn to one animal, pet it, talk to it calmly and encourage positive behavior with treats. If everything is going well, you should end the meeting after a few minutes. Afterwards, praise both pets extensively and play with them or go outside.
The cat should always have the option to leave the room again.
Continue to practice so that the friendship becomes stronger
Practice this kind of contact until no strong emotions or defensive reactions are visible. Be careful not to overwhelm the animals. You as the owner can best notice when you can leave the leash off the dog and it is your turn for the free contact. During these encounters you should be attentive, but continue normal everyday activities. In this way the pets notice that the contact is something normal. At the same time, you should always maintain the normal daily routine, this gives extra safety.
If you want to learn more tips, you should have a look at: Who rules? Dogs and cats: Learning to get along
Cats can be complicated? Read our article – Behavior Analysis for your cat training
If you like cute dog breeds, have a look at – What you should know about the dog breed Shih Tzu
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