by Jordan Walker
Dogs don’t really hate cats, or cats hate dogs. They don’t really have to fight like their sworn enemies. Truth is, they don’t really have anything to do with each other. Each species has distinct differences in both instincts and behaviors. The gestures and behaviors that your felines and canines use to communicate are totally different which often times lead to different reactions/signals (fear, aggression, dominance, friendship, or territoriality) and sometimes misinterpreted by the other species. Dogs wag their tail to convey that they’re happy, excited or even unsure (not to mention, aroused) while cats lash their tails to indicate anger or sudden surprise.
Making these two animals to get along is influenced generally by their individual experiences especially before they are introduced to each other. And that’s when responsible ownership is highlighted.
Have Them While They’re Still Young
If you plan to have both animals at home, it would be more ideal to have them while they’re still young. They will surely form a great bond growing up together. Although, you need to take into consideration that delicate kittens will be too tiny to be a match for their canine mates. Puppies are generally lively and always love to play. In this case, it is very important to watch the newly introduced playmates playing as over playing may confuse each species. Teaching these canine buddies to play with toys is a perfect training for them not to chase their feline mates and they will surely grow up respecting each other.
When Adopting Pets From A Shelter
Either you already own a dog or a cat, whichever pet you are adopting especially from a rescue center, make sure to ask the organization’s assistance in selecting the best choice, based on the behaviour and history of the animals you have at home and the one you are choosing.
Dog breeds like hounds or terriers shouldn’t cohabitate with cats, as they would instinctively see them as a chasing subject—like a prey that they have to catch and kill to satisfy their predator instinct. Feral cats, on the other hand, especially the ones that need to be socialized and acclimated to living in a house can endanger your resident dogs, as they are more adapted to seeing them as the enemy.
A Little Privacy For A Long Lasting Friendship
Cats whether current residents or new members, need to have an individual safe haven of their own for at least a week and should not be accessible by dogs. Putting a litter box, scratching post, toys, water and food and even having a bed in this room will make your felines feel more secure knowing they can always make an escape from the new experience of meeting dogs.
Meet and Greet in Slow Mo
Pet owners must have a long patience in introducing their feline and canine housemates to each other. Although both animals are territorial in nature, they deal with change differently. Cats are not fond of change while dogs can easily adapt to it almost immediately. You should not force them to be together, instead, spend quality time with each other in their separate comfort zones, at different time. Deliberately introduce them by spending time with them together in a common room even for brief periods just for them to expose to each other and gradually letting them feel that there’s room for more than one pet.
Scentroduction with Sensibility
Scent is a powerful element to effectively introduce your feline and canine companions to each other. Helping them become familiar with each other’s scent will make their introduction less stressful. Have your cats sleep on a cloth and put that cloth near the dogs’ bed. Do the same way to your dog. Have your dog sleep on a cloth or rub it on the dogs’ bodies then simply place it in your felines room. Now that they have access to each other’s scents, their first meeting shouldn’t be as hard.
Keeping Your Cats’ Claws Trimmed or Capped
It is natural for cats to use their most essential weapon—their claws—when they feel endangered or anxious. Thus, it is ideal to have these claws trimmed. However, declawing them may not be a good thing at all as your felines may feel defenceless around dogs, aside from the fact that the process is really painful. The preferred alternative way to declaw your cats is to use soft claws nail caps. They are easy to apply and will not interfere with the normal extension and retraction of your cats’ claws.
Be A Responsible Pet Owner
Responsible pet ownership means you know exactly the basics of having animals in the family—feeding them, walking them (dogs), training them, providing them their needs to satisfy their animal instincts, etc…etc… Another one big responsibility of pet owners is how to train their pets to become socialized. Good treatment, coined with true love and care towards your pets would reflect how your pets react and adapt to their changing environment.
Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops and Cages as well as other pet-related blogs. His passion for animals is matched with his passion for “attempting” to play the guitar. If you would like to catch more of him, you can visit his Google+ or Twitter accounts.