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Introducing Your Dog To Your Cat

I grew up on a farm.  We had dogs, a donkey, cats, sheep, rabbits, chicken and cows.  I was able to witness how animals got along in all different combinations.  One thing I did realize that animals who are exposed to each other long enough DO get along despite some of natures prey and predator rules.

We had a rabbit that was great friends with our dog and cat.  We also had a lamb and a dog that would frequently go off gallivanting around the neighborhood.  There was numerous occasions of cows and sheep hanging out all day.  Our donkey was protective of the sheep as were some of our dogs.  Chickens generally didn’t like anyone, but they were the one exception.

So how about cats and dogs?  It’s a conversation that’s gone on for hundreds of years.  We generally didn’t have any major problems and sometimes the cats loved our dogs, others not so much.  Our animals had the luxury of running away because they were outside for the most part.  But what about indoor animals, how can we get them the get along and not destroy our house or apartment?

Catster has some common sense solutions that perhaps we overlook.  I think a lot of people just throw the cat and dog in the same room and see what happens.  That’s not fair to either side, so take a look at these suggestions and try them out.

1. Prepare your home – Catser writer JaneA Kelly says to have an escape for your cat and keep the litter box where the dog can’t find it.  Some tall furniture is a good idea too.

2. Consider each animal’s age – A puppy is a better choice for a cat household.  The size difference makes a difference and the puppy will quickly learn the cat’s boundaries.

3. Know the dog’s background – When you adopt from a shelter try to find out if the dog has been around cats before, it makes it much easier for interaction.

4. Know your cat’s background.  If you adopted a cat that was traumatized by dogs, you might want to avoid exposing he or she to a dog.

5. Keep in mind that some dog breeds (and breed crosses) work better than others.  Some dog breeds are more likely to chase and some cats are more likely to flee.  The wrong combination could lead to a lot of problems.

6. Exercise the dog before introducing her to your cat.  Take the dog for a walk or tire them out a little before you show him the cat.  That way they might be more mellow at the first meeting.

7. Keep the dog on a leash when she meets the cat.  Make sure you can restrain the dog if you need to.  Your dog might want to play, but the cat might take that the wrong way.

8. Train your dog.  A well-trained dog is easier to manage and easier for other animals to tolerate.

9. Watch for signs of strife. Keep an eye out on your pets.  Is the cat always hiding?  Is the dog more aggressive around the cat?  Know your pet’s behaviors and seek professional help if things aren’t going smoothly.

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