We all love our feline and canine friends. However, we never quite understand why they never get along well. The film industry has even taken the liberty to point out this feud by gracing the silver screens with films such as Cats and Dogs.
The film depicts the antagonistic relationship between the two species. Such films coupled with various stereotypes all narrow down to the fact that these two species are sworn enemies, or are they? Well, first things first, we need to separate the facts from fiction.
It is true that these two species have a strained relationship. However, it is also important to distinguish between having a strained relationship and having a naturally antagonistic relationship. We need to understand that they have different behavioral traits which affect the way they relate to their environment.
With that in the clear, we should therefore not be quick to think that cats and dogs were just meant to be mortal foes. These two species can actually live happily together. What we should actually be doing is taking time to study how they interact with their surrounding.
By doing so, you are going to be able to observe any common traits that might actually bring them closer. What your pets need is your helping hand and guidance towards fostering a warm relationship between them. To help you, i have personally compiled a list of 15 effective hacks that will definitely give you some major headway.
1. Consider the personality and not the breed
I know that i had mentioned earlier that cats and dogs are not sworn enemies. However, there are always exceptions to every rule. That being said, there are certain breeds of cats and dogs that naturally don’t get along as compared to others.
This implies that when we are out looking to make a perfect match for our pets, we should not have our focus on the breed type. Why do i say this? Simple, when we have our focus on the breed, we can easily end up making a terrible choice since there are a lot of breeds of both cats and dogs out there.
Moreover, we can never be too sure whether the two different breeds of each species that we chose actually get along well. This might end up proving to be very risky as there is a lot of uncertainty involved.
To avoid this, what you ought to do is to examine the personality traits of both species that we intend to match up. Coupled with this, you should also take in to consideration the energy levels of both species. To paint a clearer picture of this, you wouldn’t like to have an aggressive dog close to a timid cat. Similar to dogs, you would not want a docile dog in its golden years close to a cat that is playful and jumpy.
In most cases, dogs are usually larger than cats. Moreover, dogs are also generally more aggressive than cats. It is common to have a dog that is hyper active and leaps from one side of the room to the other just to play with a squeaky toy.
Dogs are more often than not in high alert and they will immediately react to the slightest change in their environment. Such change may include the introduction of a new pet to your home, say for instance a cat. When our canine friends are presented with such a situation, they would pounce on the cat the moment they spot them.
This will clearly not do you any good in fostering a warm relationship between the two animals. What you should do in such a situation is to have your dog on a leash whenever you want to make them meet, more so the first few meetings.
By doing so, you will be able to control the dog’s impulses when he/she is around the cat. With time, the dog will grow to be more familiar with the cat and eventually able to stay put.
3. Create a territory for your cat
Cats need to have a space of their own that is free from intrusion. Here, free from intrusion means that this space should be totally off-limits to your canine pet. Moreover, you should also consider making more ‘safe-zones’ for your cat all around the house. The effect this has is that your cat will be able to move around the house without getting in trouble with the dog.
An important thing to take in to consideration is that cats are born natural climbers. In order to take advantage of this, you need to utilize the vertical spaces available around the house. Such vertical spaces may include walls, shelves and high counter tops.
You may also take the liberty to create your own vertical spaces for your cat by bringing in a tall cat tree. This spaces will enable the cat to observe the movements as well as the location of your canine friend from a safe spot. Your cat will have more freedom as well as guaranteed safety from any hostile pet dog in the house.
4. Targeted exercise on your Dog’s body and mind
It has been noted that most dog owners only exercise their dogs to the extent of a meager 20%. This statistic points out to the fact that we are actually not giving our dogs enough exercise. When our dogs are not getting an adequate amount of exercise, they tend to compensate for this by releasing the unused energy elsewhere.
For instance, the dog may decide to chase around your cat to ease off some of this energy. Moreover, dogs need a lot of stimulation. This stimulation should however be offered to the dog in controlled proportions.
To control the level of stimulation that you will be offering your dog you will need to do any of the following; for starters, you can give it a toy that it likes to play with, you can also carry out some herding-type activities to reduce the dog’s prey drive and finally, you can also carry out some high-intensity trick training.
When you carry out any of this activities with your dog, you will end up enabling it to control it’s impulses by reducing it’s prey drive.
5. Let your cat and dog use their noses to pick up scent
It has been recommended that before your cat and dog meet up for the first time, you should allow them to pick up each other’s scent. This should however be done in an indirect manner.
For instance, you can bring up your dog to the place where your cat likes to sleep and let it sniff the bedding as well as other things the cat associates with, for instance the toys it plays with. On the other hand, you can also take the cat to the dog’s kennel and allow it to sniff around for the dog’s scent on the toys.
By so doing, the two pets will be able to familiarize with each other’s scent even before they meet up. This creates an indirect bond between the two pets such that they will have a less dramatic first meet. Once they are fully aware of each other’s scent they will be able to prevent turf wars.
In normal circumstances, turf wars are as a result of one of either pets crossing in to the territory of the other. This happens when either of the two hasn’t mastered the scent of the other and hence resulting in to intruding the other pet’s territory.
6. Carefully plan for their first meet
Cats and dogs do not differ too much from us humans. The first impression that they will present each other will largely determine whether they will eventually get along or not. When your cat and dog are meeting for the first time, pet owners are advised to make them come together at a time they both enjoy.
What better time is there other than meal time? The idea behind this is that, when they are brought together at such a time, they will be able to smell each other while gobbling down their food. However, you will first have to separate the two pets from each other with say a dog gate or a screen and put the dog on a leash.
This is to ensure that the dog does no harm to the cat in the event it views it as prey. Keep doing this for a couple of weeks and the two pets will end up being conditioned to associate the smell of the other with meal time.
You should also remove the barriers separating the two over time as they grow fond of each other’s scent. You should however keep the dog on a leash until the time the dog shows no hostility toward the cat during mealtime.
7. Place their food in separate spaces
One major thing that pet owners overlook is that cats and dogs can actually fight over toys and food, just like kids! Cats have the habit of eating out of a dog’s bowl especially when it comes to tasty wet canned food.
When this happens and the dog is within the vicinity, a fight is inevitably going to break out. On the other hand, the dog might also fancy a particular toy that the cat has. This will also result in a fight.
In order to avoid such unpleasant situations, pet owners are advised to keep both their food in separate locations around the house. To make things much easier, you can opt to put the cat’s food in high places where the dog can’t reach.
In the case of the dog, all you need to do is place the food in an area that is marked as it’s territory. That way, each of the pets will have security over their food as well as their toys hence no fighting.
8. Raise a cat and dog together
Cats and dogs are usually very easy to train up when they are still young since they learn new things pretty quick. Moreover, at their tender age, dogs are quite small in size and therefore harmless to the cat.
Dogs are also less confident and less territorial when they are still young puppies. This enables the cat to even have an upper hand over the dog. Special attention should be paid when the dog has grown to its teenage years as tables may turn if their behavior around the cat is not closely monitored. However, if all goes well, the long term friendly relationship between the cat and dog will hold well up to their golden ages.
9. Reward your dog for pleasant behavior around the cat
All you need to do is give your dog a few treats here and there whenever they behave well around the cat. You should keep doing this on a regular basis. The result this brings about is that your dog will end up being conditioned to associate good behavior around the cat with the treats that you give him.
In the long run, the dog will eventually find it enjoyable to treat the cat well since it yields him good results. You can slowly cut down on the treats, say by giving the dog verbal compliments and petting him as opposed to real treats.
Eventually all you will need to do is give him a single compliment and your dog will stay put around your cat at all times.
10. Redirect negative behaviors targeted at your cat by the dog
Whenever your dog behaves in a hostile manner towards your cat you should always come in between. Such hostile actions that the dog may present are barking and rough play around the cat.
What you should do in such a situation is redirect the focus of the dog to a different favorable activity such as taking it through some obedience training or even teaching him a new trick. What this does is take the attention of the dog off the cat.
Pet owners are further advised however not to scold their dog when presented with such a situation. In it’s stead, look for a rather positive activity to engage your dog in. By so doing, your dog will end up being able to behave in a more positive way around your cat in the future.
11. Show equal amount of love to your pets
Cats can get very jealous when you show more love to your dog and spend more time with them too. On the other hand, dogs can get jealous too when they realize that you are displaying more affection to your cat.
This can lead either of the two in to taking it out on the other by either fighting or competing for your affection. To prevent any of these two unfavorable situations from happening, you should ensure that you spend equal time with both your cat and dog.
Pet owners are also advised to give treats as well as buy toys for both their cats and dogs at the same time so that they feel that they are both equally loved.
12. Make the introductions when the cat is calm and relaxed
Whenever you are about to introduce the cat and the dog for the very first time, you need to make sure the cat is relaxed. The cat is usually more timid whenever they have an encounter with a dog.
When organizing their first meet, pet owners are advised to have their cats in their arms and to make sure that they are calm and relaxed before they finally get to meet up with the dog. When the dog is brought out, make sure that it is on a leash and that it does not display any hostile behavior towards your cat.
Gradually bring the dog closer and closer to the cat. The moment the cat shows any signs of being timid, you should immediately take it away from the dog and organize another meet.
13. Study both Pet’s backgrounds
When you make an addition of either a dog or a cat to your household, taking time to study the various backgrounds of the two pets is a very important step. Skipping this step might lead to conflicts arising between the two pets as a result of some aspect that has to do with their background life.
For instance, you may adopt a cat that has had some past traumatic experience with dogs and hence is totally frightened to relate with a dog. In such a situation, you may want to consider adopting a different cat.
On the other hand, you may also adopt a dog that has had previous exposure to cats and can comfortably live with a cat without having to be trained on how to do so. This will be a huge plus on your side as you need not put much effort to make them fond of each other.
14. Take each Pet’s age in to account
This usually comes in handy when it comes to a household with cats. The best thing to do is to introduce a puppy to such a household. The magic this does is that there will be a significant size difference that will tend to give the cat an upper hand.
When this is the case, it is going to be easier for the cat to gain the necessary control and authority over its territory. This will in turn force the puppy to respect these boundaries and keep off.
As the puppy grows, it will grow knowing that it cannot cross certain territory and regardless of its size, it will still keep off since it has been conditioned in such a way ever since it was still young and timid. The two pets will eventually end up living a fight free life with each other in the same household, easy right?
15. Alternate the space you keep the pets in
Pet owners are advised to alternate the rooms and spaces where your pets spend their time. When this exercise is carried out, the animals are given an opportunity to pick up each other’s scent when the other pet is not around.
After carrying out this exercise over say a couple of weeks, the two animals are going to familiarize more and more with each other’s scent and hence end up establishing a bond of sorts. This is usually done before the two pets meet for the very first time. It is advised that you do this before the first meet so that when they finally get to meet for the very first time since animals identify with each other through scent.
When they finally get to meet each other and know that they each recognize the other’s scent, they will bond instantly. This simple exercise works like a charm.
The various hacks that i have provided should be combined together to give favorable results. Different dog and cat breeds will react differently to each of the methods. I advise that you try each of the methods as you monitor the response from your pets.
Later on, evaluate the results judging from the response to each method by your pets. Choose a combination of hacks that produce the best responses from your pets. I hope you find this helpful.