Cats and dogs have a natural antagonistic instinct against one another. This natural behavior is why seemingly, cats hate dogs, and both animals don’t get along quickly.
Well, they might not get along quickly, but they can get along. It’s easier when both animals grow up together, but there are steps you can take on how to train a cat and dog to get along that can be pretty effective in helping both pets be more accommodating towards each other.
This article focuses on cats and dogs but if you have two dogs, you may wish to see our other article how to introduce a visiting dog to your dog.
Moving on, here’s how to teach a cat and dog to be friends;
Plan The First Introduction
Depending on which pet came first, any would perceive the other as an intruder. For example, if you’ve got a cat already and you’re getting a new dog, your cat might see the dog as a threat.
To avoid this, you should carefully plan the first introduction. An important thing to do is to create a suitable and neutral space to ensure the new pet isn’t invading the territory of the existing one. At first, both pets should be as distant as possible.
The best idea will be to keep them in separate rooms. If they’re in the same room, use a physical barrier to separate them.
Slowly Introduce Them Indirectly
Before bringing them in to spend time with each other, you first have to introduce both pets indirectly, and you have to do this slowly. Quickly introducing them to each other could result in a fight.
Indirectly introducing your pets has to do with introducing their smells beforehand. You should do this within the first 2 to 3 days.
Animals quickly familiarize themselves with smells. So, what you should do is mix their scents. You can do this by stroking your cat and then stroking your dog while they’re in their separate rooms. With this, you transfer the smell of one pet to the other. It would be best if you did this repeatedly.
Introduce Both Pets Physically When They Are Relaxed
Once the pets are familiar with each other’s scent, you can introduce them directly. It is essential to do this when relaxed, especially the cat.
If you bring them together and the cat acts scared and doesn’t want to be near the dog, separate them again and give the cat more time.
If it goes successfully, then you have to be even careful. Should you pay more attention to the cat than the dog, the dog might feel jealous and vice versa. So, endeavor to show both pets equal amounts of love as you introduce them.
Give Your Cat A Private Space
If there’s anyone that needs to feel safe between both pets, it’s the cat. Ensure your pet has their own space, ideally, one the dog can’t access, so they can go there privately and feel safe. See more in our post how to make a cat feel safe.
Anyway, as you Introduce them initially, your cat might want to get away from the dog if he gets scared. Vertical spaces are ideal because cats are natural climbers. Your cat can easily climb there to feel safe, and your dog won’t be able to follow.
Cat trees and shelves are ideal vertical spaces you can consider. Also, your dog shouldn’t go close to your cat litter box; cats need their privacy.
Keep Their Belongings Separate
I know you’re working on how to teach a cat and dog to be friends. However, you’ll be making a mistake by mixing the belongings of both pets. For example, you serve them food with the same bowl or share toys.
While this may be ideal later, we do not recommend this during the training/introduction period. It’s easy for either pet to feel entitled to any of these things and want to act possessive. Most especially the dog as dogs can be naturally antagonistic to cats.
You should keep their food and toys separate. Feed them from different bowls and ideally in different areas of the house. That way, neither would see the content of what the other is having.
Don’t Leave Them Together When Away.
If you’re not going to be at home, don’t leave your cat and dog together alone. No matter how much they seem to get along with each other. Anything can happen while you’re away. Most likely, they could get into a fight.
It would be better to get someone to watch them or restrain them in different rooms while away so they don’t have access to each other. See more tips in the video below.
Naturally, dogs and cats are not very compatible. However, with the information above, you’ll be able to learn how to teach a cat and dog to be friends. According to various experts, dogs and cats can communicate with one another using different facial expressions, body movements, growls, etc.
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I have discussed some tips on how to train a cat and dog to get along in this article, and implementing them will go a long way to having each of your pets feel safe and comfortable when the other is around.
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