Last Updated: 2 months ago

How do I make them friends?

It can be hard if you have a cat and a dog that don’t really get along. It makes mealtimes, walks, and family fun much more stressful than they need to be.

However, there are tons of things that you can do to make your pets much more comfortable with each other.

Who knows? Your pets may even end up becoming best friends! It’s not necessary that they fight like Garfield and Odie.

If you supervise and control their interactions, give them plenty of time and space away from each other, and let them get very comfortable with each other before they meet, your pets won’t mind each other all that much.

Consider Personality

More than the species, the personality of your pets is super important to determine whether or not they will be friends.

A super lively little kitten would probably really annoy a grumpy old dog who’s set in his ways. Or, if you have a very energetic and playful pup, he will probably be very irritating to an anti-social cat.

The breed of the dog doesn’t really influence how much he will tolerate a cat. A Phantom Labradoodle is just as likely to get along with a kitten as a Doberman! However, if you have a very territorial dog, he probably won’t like another animal in the house.

If you notice immediate animosity, try dividing the house up so that each animal has their own territory.

Or you could try leaving the cat at a friend’s house for a few days and only bringing him into your home for “playdates”.

That way, your pup can get comfortable with the idea of having another animal in the house.

Scent Swap

Before you let the pets meet face-to-face, it’s important that you let them get used to each other’s scents.

Have you ever seen that in some veterinary offices, they have bandanas or towels soaked in dog or cat pheromone?

These chemicals help soothe your animal’s nerves. Evidently, our pets are really good at picking up distinct smells.

Therefore, if you have a cat coming into the house, start by rubbing a towel all over your cat’s fur. Put the towel under your dog’s food bowl as he eats.

This means that while your dog is eating, he will be smelling the cat’s scent and will associate it with the cat.

Therefore, he will be more welcoming when he meets the cat in real life.

Separate Spaces

Dogs and cats are both territorial animals. It’s important that you establish different zones in the house.

The dog should have their own personal space that the cat cannot enter. This space could be his crate, a room with his food bowls, or even just his bed.

Also, the cat should have its own little zone in case the dog begins to roughhouse.

Ideally, this spot should be on a shelf, somewhere up high where the dog can’t reach it.

If you create separate spaces, your cat and dog are less likely to fight over territory. Also, make sure that their food bowls are in different areas in case the animals are possessive over their food.

Obedience Training

The most helpful thing that you can do is begin obedience training. Train your dog not to react when the cat is in the room.

If you can keep his attention while the cat enters the room, then reward your dog with a treat!

Make sure you desensitize your dog to people touching him and putting their hands in the food bowl as he is eating. This will make your dog much more relaxed if the cat ever decides to put her paws in his kibble.

For the most efficient training, you must find out what motivates your dog. Is it food, toys, words of affirmation, or just pets?

Whatever it is, use it when your dog manages to stay still & gives you his full attention. This will prove to be super useful when there is a tiny kitten running around the house.

Supervise Interactions

Make sure that you are carefully watching all of their interactions. No matter how well-behaved your animals are, it’s very possible that one of them could randomly become excited and start to roughhouse with the other.

This could lead to dangerous consequences, especially if there is a big size difference between the two pets.

The first interaction should be eating in different corners of the same room, with the dog on a leash.

This makes it easier to watch over them and distract them if they have a negative interaction.

Plus, they will associate the smell of the other animal with mealtime, which will create a positive association in their heads.

Then you can introduce them to each other in a room with a lot of exits, in case the cat needs to run away.

This way, the animals can interact on their own terms, and they can also leave if it becomes overwhelming.

Consider the age difference

Consider the age and species of your animals. The safest bet is usually bringing a younger puppy into the home of an older cat. This is because a cat usually can’t do as much damage as a dog.

You can definitely bring a kitten into the house with an older dog, as long as the dog is fully trained and will give you his full attention if he is doing something naughty.

Also, make sure the dog is leashed if he’s much bigger than the kitten.

Conclusion

Dogs and cats aren’t meant to be enemies; that’s just a stereotype from our childhood cartoons! A dog can easily be trained to welcome a cat into the home.

If you ensure that their interactions are monitored and you can de-escalate the situation when it gets dangerous, you can definitely train your pets to become best friends!

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Olfa T
Olfa T

Olfa knows how to get things done and has a keen business sense that others admire. She’s always on the go, coming up with new ideas! Her ability to anticipate the needs of her readers and deliver information that they want is what makes CatVills such a success. She loves cuddling her cat Picaciu. He is her inspiration.