It's a rivalry like none other. A competition so fierce that numerous movies and human sayings have been modeled after it. "Raining cats and dogs," being one of the more popular examples.
Whatever that means, it is obvious that cats and dogs are widely portrayed as each other's fierce natural enemy. And while there's a lot of truth to this, it is also just as true that the rivalry has been overestimated a lot.
With all the movies and sayings, you'd think it was impossible to have a cat and dog live under the same roof. But as we all know, there have been numerous instances of this happening.
So long as you carry out proper planning and follow the important tips, you should be able to raise dogs and cats in the same house.
Below are 5 tips to help you do this easily and in the proper manner.
1. Personality Matters
There's a popular belief in some circles that to ensure a cat and a dog gets along, the most important thing to take into consideration is the breed of both the dog and cat. On the contrary, though, the most important thing is, in fact, their personality, and not their breeds.
An aggressive and extremely territorial dog, no matter the breed, will not be a good fit in a house with an easily excited cat.
So the first thing to consider when raising a dog and a cat in the same house is their personality. And if for some reason you end up with two incompatible pets, it would be a good idea to devise a separation plan (such as a dog playpen) in the house.
2. Age Matters
Another important thing to take into consideration, after personality, is the age of the pets. The ideal scenario, in this case, would be to get both your puppy and kitten at the same time. This will ensure that they get raised together, grow up together, and get used to each other more smoothly.
Along the line, they are also very likely to form a bond as they grow. One that would not be there among a cat and a dog that got introduced to each other at a later stage in life.
You also get to examine them more carefully, get more familiar with them, and make arrangements accordingly to accommodate each of their personality differences.
3. Keep an Extra Eye on The Dog
According to WebMD Pets, if trouble is going to brew between your cat and your dog, your dog is most likely to be the one who causes it. This isn't necessarily down to an aggressive personality, mind you, just an innate disposition in dogs to start a ruckus, move rapidly in excitement after objects, and so on.
By keeping an eye on your dog, you can start to take control of errant behaviors right from the start, and hopefully control it or even put an end to it completely. You can do so by attending a dog behavior course, or by reading these dog training books written by dog behavioral experts.
4. Stimulate their Sense of Smell
According to Animal Planet, you can get a cat and dog to relate seamlessly by first introducing them to each other's scents, prior before any meeting occurs.
A way to do this is to take a towel for the dog, run it over his body, and place it next to the cat's happy place where they'll get to smell them weeks beforehand.
This can either be on their beds, beside their food and even on their plates.
Then you repeat the same process for the cat, rubbing a towel on its body and placing it near the dog's happy place.
The power of smell can be further utilized even after the preparatory moments. It can be employed at the exact point of the first meeting (as we will discuss below) and even subsequently after they've both gotten to know and get familiar with each other.
5. Plan the First Meetings Carefully
For a cat and dog that didn't grow up together, or even for those that will, the first impression matters a lot, and you only have one chance at it.
This first meeting has to be in a convenient environment, with a door to separate both pets. Ideally, this should be done during mealtime with the dog kept securely on a leash. There should be a form of separation between them at first, that gets gradually removed as time goes on.
This will ensure that they smell each further, without quite seeing each other. And then after getting fully acquainted with their scents, you keep it up at a nice pace, and after a few weeks, start to decrease the distance between them until at first, they see each other, and then finally they can eat near each other without any form of a screen between them.
Pete Decker is the lead editor at TheGoodyPet.com. For the past 20 years, Pete has been working professionally with dogs, and he has spent time volunteering in animal shelters across the USA and around the world. Now, Pete dedicates his time towards TheGoodyPet, a pet educational website made by pet lovers for pet lovers.