Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Can Dogs and Cats Co-Habitate?

It was long held that dogs and cats can't live together in the same space. Having both a dog and a cat myself, I can confirm that is not the case. There are, however, several factors to take into consideration.

How you acclimate a dog to a cat is key. Also, introducing these two species at an early age is always better. You should never force the introduction, but there are a few things you can do.
Can Dogs and Cats Co-Habitate?
If you have a cat or cats and want to bring home a mature dog, try to find out some history on the dog. Things like whether or not they've been around cats before. If you can't get any history, it's better to be safe than sorry. Keep them separate for awhile and socialize them slowly. Use of a dog leash would be good for this purpose.

Some breeds truly don't get along well with cats. These include your hunting breeds like Dobermans, hounds and others. Also, terriers don't get along well with cats. Please keep the breed in mind when you decide to bring a dog home to a house with cats.

If your new dog does not react much to cats when brought home, don't automatically think all is well. Sometimes, grown dogs will be completely civil when inside, but then attack when outside. So don't leave them unsupervised in the same room until you are sure.

Now, if you bring a new puppy home versus a mature dog, there are some better socialization techniques you can use. Remember, I mentioned earlier the age of the dog makes a difference. You will want to keep them away from each other for a couple of days or so. During that time, let the cats smell the puppy's bed to acclimate to the puppy's scent. Be sure you let the puppy do the same for where the cats typically sleep.

Now it's time for the actual introduction. You should hold onto the puppy in your lap and let the cats come to the puppy. This is their first visual as well as physical encounter. The puppy is secure and the cats are free to approach and withdraw as they please. If the cats stay in the room after this, let the puppy go. If the puppy starts to chase the cats, firmly say "No". This will bear repeating as the puppy learns not to run after the cats.

Before long, the two species will be playing together and be best friends. Many will even become protective of the other. Just take the time to introduce them properly and you'll be one big happy family.

1 comment:

kikolani said...

I just brought home a new puppy to a house with a couple of adult cats (7+ years). I think at that age, the cats are good to him because they know he's a baby. Hopefully he will grow up and they will all live in harmony! :)