tips for successfully keeping dogs and cats together
• Ideally, you should acquire your dog and cat at the same time and when they are both young. This will help them get used to each other at a time when both can establish regular patterns and routines as well as socialise with each other – meaning there may be fewer fights about who gets to lie next to the heater on those cold winter nights.
• Research suggests you are more likely to be successful introducing a dog to a household where a cat is the first occupant, rather than introducing a cat into a household that already has a dog.
• If you have a pet that has been a part of your life for some time, it’s best to introduce the new pet to the established pet very gradually and under supervision.
• When you first bring home your new pet, put them in a room behind a closed door for a few days so that your other pet can get to know the new arrival “through the door” and with minimal confrontation. This way your pets will discover each other through smell and hearing so when you introduce them face-to-face they will already be familiar with each other.
• When introducing a cat and a dog, people usually worry that the cat will come off second best, but keep an eye out for the dog as well! Cats like to establish that they are the boss from the first meeting – even if that means running away after delivering a quick swipe to a dog’s nose.
• It’s sensible to remember that, in many ways, pets are like children. If you are paying too much attention to one pet, there can be competition. Distribute your affection to both in a structured way and make sure that both pets know what the rules are for getting attention – being calm and sitting patiently.