Can Cats And Dogs Get Along?

by Maine Coon Cat Nation - Date: 2010-10-11 - Word Count: 594 Share This!

There comes a time in (almost) every animal-loving household when cat meets dog. Or is it dog meets cat? Cats and dogs are so often portrayed as mortal enemies, but in reality, they can also be the best of friends!

There are a few factors that will go into whether your household is one of harmony or one of frenzied chasing, hissing, scratching, and perhaps a bloody nose or two.

I grew up with cats and dogs. We had a kitten that would "nurse" on our toy poodle (not really!) and later on a Sheltie named Bonny who got along with all cats so well we even named a kitten Clyde.

Currently we have a young Shetland Sheepdog who will mercilessly chase and torment the cats if left to her own devices. So, I have learned that all animals and all households are different.

Be The Cat
Here is a peek into the psyche of a cat being introduced to a dog: "Oh, bother. What is that thing? It is looking straight at me. Why is it so intent on me? Is it going to attack me? This can't be good! Maybe if I ignore it, it will go away."

The Dogs Perspective
The dog, of course, comes from a whole different world! He is thinking, "Oh boy, oh boy, a friend! Yippee, lets play chase together! Let me smell you! You can smell me! Betcha can't catch me! A friend, a friend!"

So, how well cats and dogs can get along has a lot to do with how well the dog can contain himself. If he's uninterested in the cat, probably nothing more will come of it. If he must chase, and doesn't learn his lesson when he gets cuffed on the nose, you'll want to intervene.

The last thing you want is for either pet to become depressed or feel they've lost your affections. If your cat can't come to you for pets and snuggles because that dog is always blocking the way, she will quickly become stressed. The same is true if she no longer has run of the house, if she can't get to her litter box, food, or favorite sleeping spot.

This could show up in the form of cat aggression, litter box issues, or a host of other common cat behavior problems. So what to do? Some training is in order. You can't train a cat to let a dog sniff her, paw her or bark at her. But, you can train a dog to be more polite.

For puppies and young energetic dogs, this may simply mean keeping them separated for a while. After all, your pup is learning the ropes when it comes to many things. And just like very young human children, he simply doesn't possess self-control yet.

He does have a strong desire to please you, though. So use it to your advantage and praise him whenever he can let the cat walk by without trying to pounce on her.

Also, never allow chasing. The dog should be firmly reminded that that is undesirable. Use your serious voice, calmly distract him by his name, and firmly say "No." Then remove him from the chase. He may need to be separated for a bit.

Older cats and dogs can be slowly introduced and usually coexist without much fuss. Some cats are quite easy-going. And some dogs just don't care about cats. If this is the case, you're all set! Otherwise, a gentle introduction and the assurance that each pet has their safe place will help. Who knows, maybe they'll be Best Buds down the road!

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