Cats and dogs have a notoriously rocky relationship. Since the beginning of time, people have pitted the two as arch-enemies.
Cats and dogs are two very different species with distinct traits. Dogs are pack animals that enjoy the company of others – whether other dogs or humans – while cats are typically loners. Although they may play with other cats and enjoy spending time with their humans, they tend to enjoy wandering off and spending time alone.
Moreover, dogs are exuberant and full of energy, while cats prefer peace and quiet. Many other differences between the two animals lead many to believe that cats and dogs cannot be friends.
However, contrary to popular belief, dogs and cats can exist harmoniously in the same home. With a little commitment from you, it’s possible to build a solid and loving cat and dog friendship.
Here are a few tips to make your cat and dog get along and become best friends.
1. Swap Scents
Dogs and cats have an incredibly powerful sense of smell that they rely on to assess their surroundings. A smell can help them detect fear, anxiety, and even sadness, which significantly impacts their behavior.
Experts recommend getting the two animals used to each other’s scent before a face-to-face introduction. This may entail swapping their blankets, beds, or toys, giving them time to get familiar with one another before an official introduction.
2. Slow and Steady Desensitization
Many dogs tend to get over-excited when they first see a cat. This overreaction could make the cat uneasy, making it difficult for the two to develop a healthy cat and dog friendship.
The goal of desensitization is to reduce your dog’s reaction to your cat by gradually increasing his exposure to her. Placing your cat in a closed-off room that isn’t accessible to your pooch, using something like a baby gate so they can still see each other, is perfect for desensitization. The idea is to keep the two apart, only allowing them to see each other at specific times.
Initially, they can simply view and sniff each other through the baby gate. If your dog is too fixated on the cat, distract it using a toy or practice cues.
By slowly getting your pup used to the cat, he should eventually lose interest and is less likely to overreact during face-to-face contact because he’s already familiar with its presence.
Keeping your cat and dog in separate parts of the house for the first few days or weeks gives them time to get used to each other.
3. Create a Safe Haven for Your Cat
Your kitty will feel more relaxed and is more likely to build a positive cat and dog friendship if they have a private territory to escape to.
Dogs are playful, energetic, and curious and can easily overwhelm cats. Meanwhile, cats enjoy their space and appreciate having a place to retreat to when they need some peace and alone time.
Cats are natural climbers and may find solace in trees, cat shelves, or on top of the fridge. Moreover, cat scratch trees or platforms attached to the wall provide a safe space in the home and allow your kitty to watch over things from a distance.
Even if your dog and cat are getting along well, your cat will appreciate having a dog-free zone they can escape to when they need a much-needed break from a rowdy pooch.
4. Exercise Your Dog’s Body and Mind
Exercise and mental stimulation are essential to your pooch’s health and well-being and can improve overall behavior.
Exercise helps release energy in a healthy way, allowing pups to slow down their brains and control their behavior – including when they’re around cats. Moreover, providing stimulation in a controlled form makes your pooch less likely to act out by, say, chasing cats. Try things like toys, training, or herding-type activities
When your dog gets the attention and stimulation it needs, he’s likely to be more relaxed and content. Therefore, your kitty is safe from an overly energetic and frustrated dog looking to burn excess energy.
5. Try Some Calming Products
Building a healthy cat and dog friendship is tricky when tensions are high. Ensuring both animals are calm and relaxed is key for a positive experience.
Certain natural products, like CBD for pets, may be particularly useful in these situations. CBD is renowned for its calming properties and is often used by pet owners to relax stressed-out four-legged companions.
CBD treats may be especially beneficial if your pup is acting up. You can use the treats to reward good behavior, like when your dog interacts positively with the cat. The benefits are twofold since CBD can help to relax your pup.
6. Keep the Situation Positive
Avoid scolding your dog for negative behavior. Dogs get energetic and playful, and if he gets into trouble every time he interacts with the cat, he may think the cat is the reason he’s getting scolded.
If your pup becomes a bit too rowdy with the cat, try redirecting his energy onto something else. The idea is to give him other ways to release energy, whether it’s a toy to play with, taking him on a walk, or something else positive.
On the flip side, if your dog is being friendly with the kitty, reward and praise him. This will encourage a positive and pleasant cat and dog friendship.
With a little commitment, training, and patience, pet owners can help foster a positive cat and dog friendship.
Take it slow, and let the friendship evolve. Every pet is different and has its own personality traits, so it’s important to assess the situation and adapt the above tips to suit your pet’s needs.
Some pet friendships may take more time and effort to build, especially if you have a highly strung cat or dog. In these cases, CBD products may help to relax and calm your pet.
It’s important to take things slow and steady and not to force anything. Your role is to simply guide the process. Your kitty and pup will sus each other out and find their place in the home in their own time.