Can Cats and Dogs Be Friends?

Yes they can! Introducing cats and dogs to each other can be challenging, but it is possible with guidance. Here are some easy tips on how you can get them acquainted.

Work Through Scent

Cats and dogs are always exploring the world through their sense of smell. They smell their surroundings to evaluate everything- people, the ground, even their toys! One way we can help our cats and dogs to become friends is to let them recognize each other's scents. There are some tricks pet owners can do get these two creatures used with each other's scent fast, like rub a towel on your cat then place it onto dog bed or swap beds if you have both animals at home. You could also hug one animal first before cuddling up against the other while lounging together on couch too.

Another way to gradually introduce animals to each other's scent is to keep your pets in separate rooms, either separated by a baby gate or a door so they can smell each other over time and get use to each other's scent through a barrier.

Understand Animal Behavior

When communicating with our furry friends, it's important to know they will be communicating with their body languge rather than words! Cats and Dogs also have different ways of communicating with their bodies. For example, if your cat is swishing her tail back and forth or pinning her eyes up at you, she may be feeling defensive – so don't approach! But if your dog has his tail tucked in between his legs rather than wagging towards the sky then he might be stressed out which means you should leave him alone for a minute. It's important to study both animal's behaviors so you can understand their cues- and when they might be stressed out.

Supervise Your Pets

Kittens can be small, goofy and playful. They may not have any fear of big dogs! An energetic dog could hurt them simply by playing or even from being very excited from meeting a new friend. Kittens can make little movements while playing and when larger animals respond, they could hurt the kitten without meaning to. They should always have close supervision during playtime.

Supervised playtime and interactions can protect your animals. Cats may be small, but they also have sharp claws. Their claws also might carry bacteria from their litter box so a swipe from a cat could cause infection to your dog if playtime turns aggressive. Playtime should be supervised until both animals are comfortable with each other.

Find Safe Places

Prepare a safe spot for your cat where they can hide or stay if they feel threatened during play time- or if they just want to decompress. This should be a high area where your dog can't access- a high shelf, a window, or even the top of your fridge. Your dog should also have their own safe space away from their cat- a crate, or a room or space the cat isn't permitted, Both animals should also have different eating areas. You will want to give them their own space and territories to prevent any fights about space- but also to given them areas to retreat to if they want to be alone.

Be Patient

If your cat or dog walks away during a meeting, let them go. This might mean they are not yet ready to be friends or interact with each other. Be patient with each meeting, and give them more time. Never force an interaction between the two of them as this could lead to a negative result. In the end, sometimes the animals might just not want to be friends- and they might just want to ignore each other. That is also a win!

You can also use treats or a special food they like to reward them for calm and good behavior during interactions. Food rewards could also be used to distract them. Make sure you are praising both of them too! If youโ€™re using treats, see that both of them are getting some and that they are not very close together when receiving the treats or food rewards.

Ask a Trainer or a Vet

Some pets adjust quickly to a new animal in the household. Others might need a helping hand from a professional source, like a trainer or a vet. A vet can always give professional advice and opinions and a trainer could help work with you in different capacities. They might do private sessions with your pets individually or together. Some trainers even have their own cats to help dogs get used to being around them if they've never experienced feline friends before!

Some cats and dogs might never get along, however with patience and these tips (and advice of professionals!) you can make good headway!

What tips do you have? Leave a comment below!

Check out more advice here: 5 Mistakes New Pet Owners Make

Krystal | Sunny Sweet Days
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