6 Tips for Having Cats and Dogs in the Same House

There are dog people. And there are cat people. Then there are multi-animal people. I myself am a cat person. But at the same time, I am a lover of all animals. But I have yet to develop the intestinal fortitude (guts) to integrate the two species in my home.

Then there are those people who thrive on multi-pet integration. Yes, they have dogs and cats under one roof. These people either have patients beyond measure, or home the size of a city block. Cats will do okay around their canine counterpart as long as they have ample places to hide.

So let’s say, for argument sake, you have one or maybe two dogs and have had them for one or two years.

And, you too are a lover of all animals, canines are just your preference. Then one day somebody introduces you to a friendly feline who needs a home. You immediately welcome the kitty with open arms.

Then on the way home reality sets in. OMG! I already have two dogs! And I’m not sure how they or the cat will get along! What have I gotten myself into?

Relax. With a bit of time and some good tips, you too can be the proud master of a cat/dog household!

First impressions are everything!

So as you make your way home with your new cat, call ahead if you can. First of all, announce to your spouse you are bringing a cat home and they can just deal with it. After all, your only concern here is about the dogs!

If there is a way you can have the dogs in a separate room when you arrive, the cat will be able to explore his or her new surrounding. All the while they will be getting accustomed to the new ‘dog smell’ as well.

First impressions are everything! And these first few hours need to be at the very least stress-free ones for kitty.

For the first few days

The very first day let the cat find a ‘safe room.’ It will probably be a bedroom where they can seek refuge under a bed. Place everything they will need in the room they choose. Items such as food, water, and of course the litter box.

Let the cat stay in the room for the first 3 to 5 days. Go into the room frequently to show them you are there and you are not going to harm them. Strokes under the chin and treats are your best ally here.

Two or three times per day, change out the cat’s bedding (blankets) with the dog’s bedding (blankets). It allows them to get used to each other’s scent without actually making eye contact.

Soon notice each pet staying put at the door to the bedroom hoping to get a glimpse. Let the curiosity build, It will make for a better face to face when the time comes.

First eye contact

If all is going well, by the end of the first week they should be ready for initial eye contact.

Facilitate the eye contact by installing a baby gate in the doorway to the bedroom. Don’t leave the gate unattended. And only allow them to see each other for a few minutes at a time.

Be sure you reward all of your animals with treats when they exhibit proper behavior.

Letting the cat out

Now it’s time to let the cat know the bedroom isn’t the only room in the house. Begin the home tour by either keeping the dogs on their leash or allowing them to romp out in the yard for a bit.

Then allow the cat to roam about the house for an hour or so. Kitty will be intrigued by their new surroundings and of course those new animal smells. Hey, they are the same smells I’ve been smelling under the door!

Full-blown face to face!

Now the time has come. You might need your spouse or a friend to be present at the ceremony. The cat should totally trust you by now. You are the familiar face they have been associating with food and treats!

Have somebody else hold the dog(s) on their leash in the living room. Gently scoop up the cat and enter the living room.

By holding the cat, and the other party restraining the dog, ease them towards each other. If it starts to go sour, remove them from each other.

If it goes well, reward both accordingly. You need to repeat the face to face routine several times per day until all goes well. With enough time and patients, it will.

Expected behavior from kitty

Your cat’s first reaction to the dog may just be one installed by mother nature. Cat’s are extremely defensive by nature. So their first introduction to the dog may just be one of DNA.

Have you ever wondered why cats will hiss? They hiss to imitate the fiercest animal they know. The snake. Cat’s will catch and kill snakes, but they are terrified of them as well. So any time they feel threatened, they act like a snake.

Cat’s will also ‘fuzz up’ and stand broad-side to whatever is threatening to them. They stand sideways to appear to be bigger than they are.

So all of the hissing and standing awkwardly is their way of being the badass. When in fact they are really awesome cuddle buddies. As I said, I am a cat person, I have three of the most awesome ‘office cats’ in the world!

My cats are the ruler of my home. Plain and simple. However, Living in an apartment complex, as I do they get along extremely well with the two dogs next door. At first, it was touch and go. Now they are all “Milo and Otis” on each other.

Conclusion

The bottom line, pets are great. And if you are lucky enough to have both, dogs and cats your life will be enriched ten-fold. While there is no set-in-stone way to acclimate the two, they can live together. So load up on treats and get to work!

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