Having a Dog and a Cat in the Same House -How to Live in Harmony
It can be very complicated but the truth is you can get a dog and a cat to live together in the same house, peacefully and getting along. But to do this, you must conscientiously prepare the introduction between the two animals to ensure they feel safe and comfortable about their new friend. In this OneHowTo article we explain everything you need to know about having a dog and a cat in the same house, in order to achieve a peaceful and friendly atmosphere.
Understand the needs of each. It is important that if you want to have a dog and a cat in the house you know that each one needs its own space and a distinct set of care and attention. You may very much want to create a space of unanimous coexistence, but you must respect the independence of each animal and treat them as what they are: two totally different things. Therefore, you should mark a space that will be for the cat, with its own food and water, and another for the dog. Do not put them in the same place because they will feel invaded.
They have to be sociable. Before adding a new member to the family, it is important that your first pet be sociable. So, if you have an aggressive dog or an elusive cat it is best to not introduce any more animals. But if your pet is still a puppy then yes, you can try to change their behavior with some exercises and tricks that will make the adaptation to the new family member a positive one.
To achieve having a cat and a dog in the same house you must spend time with the two animals individually. They must learn to share you and to not feel jealous of each other, so you should treat them with equally with love. To achieve this intimate space without the other animals being in the way it is essential to do what we have mentioned earlier: differentiate each animal's spaces in the house. Thus, if the small room is where you have the cat food and the dog's food is in the kitchen, close yourself in these spaces which they feel to be their own and show them some affection.
However, the most important moment in getting the two animals to live together is in the introduction. To avoid the dog getting over excited it is important that it has exercised and fed before meeting the cat. It is also recommended you have the dog tied on a leash to avoid any accidents, but do not pull too much otherwise the dog may feel threatened.
Once they have smelled one another you can continue the introduction with an exercise that will prove to both that the territory is now shared. You will have to put each animal in an area of the house that is divided by a door. This door must be closed at first. You will see that everyone will start to cry, bark or scratch at the door, this is because they want to access the other room as it is their territory. To calm their nerves, you should play with each animal and reward them when you see them calm down and stop thinking about what is behind the door.
Then, without opening the door, give them each an item belonging to the other, like a towel, toy or even their collar. Like this they will smell the new tenant and begin to feel comfortable and accustomed to their presence. Let them play with this article as long as they like so that they catch the scent of their companion.
The next step is to open the door between them, although it is advisable to put a barrier between them so they can smell one another without actually having contact. You can use a big cushion, a mosquito net or anything you might feel is appropriate for this task. The objective of this exercise is to not have any animal enter the other's space. You must have patience and end up rewarding them when they succeed.
Once they have completed these exercises, it is time to bring them together in the same room. Above all you must avoid any confrontation between them and never show preferences for one over the other; we usually have a tendency to take the cat to 'save' it from the dog because this animal is bigger and stronger but this gesture will make the dog as if you prefer the cat and this can cause jealousy.
In the first weeks of cohabitation, the best thing is that when you leave the house you leave each one in the space you have thought out for them. Do not leave them alone together because they may fight. Little by little you will see that they feel less interest in each other and, therefore, will be ready to be left alone. Until then, close each animal in its room while you are not home.
To achieve having a dog and a cat in the same house you must be very patient and constant in helping their relationship and above all do not despair. Whenever possible, it is recommended that animals be puppies no more than 1 year old, as then assimilation to the new family member is less traumatic. In this OneHowTo article we give you more advice on how to stop my dog from attacking a cat.
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