“We recently conducted research that revealed more than half of cat owners have later introduced a dog into their family. We all know that dogs and cats don’t always get along, however there are many ways for these beloved household animals to live more harmoniously,” says CEO of Cat Protection Society NSW, Kristina Vesk.
For those who may be introducing a new pup into a cat inhabited home, Kristina has provided her top five tips for making the transition smoother:
1. Pick animals with similar personalities
Many think that the breed of their cat and dog matter more than their personalities. However, personality and energy levels of animals is in fact a major factor in determining whether or not they will get along. Make sure to use your common sense throughout this process. For example, two quiet animals will comfort each other whereas two active animals will keep each other entertained, yet mixing the two is a recipe for disaster.
2. Provide dedicated zones
There is no denying that cats are territorial creatures, and sometimes dogs can be too inquisitive for their liking. To keep your pets happy, create a ‘home base’ on a high surface that is purely for your cat. Consider placing beds on top of bookshelves, forming a path above the floor or having taller vertical scratch post so that they can get some distance from their animal companions.
3. Introduce smells
Cats and dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell. One trick that can often make meeting for the first time smoother is introducing animal smells around the home while placing your new pet in a private space. A fantastic option is to wipe a shirt or socks on your new dog and then place it near your cat's food dish or bed. This way your cat can get used to the smell of other animals in the home before they are introduced.
4. Create boundaries
Sharing space is very important in fostering a great relationship between a cat and a dog. However, there are a couple exceptions to this rule. Like humans, cats don’t like to be disturbed when they are headed to the bathroom. Whether they are using it or not, cats begin to stress when a dog comes into their space. Make sure you always keep your dogs away from the litter box. Not only will this give your cat some piece of mind, it will teach your pup to not eat something they shouldn’t.
5. Don’t force a relationship
No one likes to be forced into a relationship, and doing this to a cat and dog is probably the worst thing to do. Guiding and supervising the relationship is important, yet let the relationship form naturally. Each animal will bring their own personality and quirks to the budding friendship and it may take time for you cat and dog to be fond of each other. Be patient and ensure you use positive reinforcement when fostering a new relationship between cats and dogs.
For more information visit www.catprotection.org.au.
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