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Keeping The Peace Between Dogs and Cats 
May 1, 2024

Fluffy and Fido are the most popular pets here in the U.S. That’s probably no surprise. Many folks are fervent supporters of one or the other, and are adamantly either dog people or cat people. There are also lots of households with both. While Fluffy and Fido have a somewhat complicated relationship, they can—and often do—live together peacefully. They also sometimes come to a kind of truce and essentially ignore one another. That isn’t a given, though. Dogs and cats fight occasionally, well, like dogs and cats. A local Norwalk, CA veterinarian offers some peacekeeping tips in this article.

Should I Own A Cat And A Dog?

That depends on the cat and the dog. Both pets’ age, size, breed, history, and temperament are crucial. Some of our canine pals just have a strong prey drive. Sometimes, cats trigger that predatory impulse. This not only makes for unhappy roommates, but it can also be dangerous.

Of course, Fluffy isn’t always as innocent and harmless as she looks! Sometimes, cats are the ones that start trouble here. But although your furball’s razor-sharp teeth and claws can do some harm, the cat is generally far more vulnerable.

Will My Pets Ever Get Along?

We’d love to be able to say yes, but it depends on the histories, temperaments, sizes, and ages of both pets. Fido and Fluffy are often apprehensive and distrustful of one another, but eventually learn how to get along. 

Kitties are very much creatures of habit. They take a very long time to adjust to significant changes. Fluffy could need a year or more to become used to her new roommate. This will vary, though; if your feline friend is used to being around pups, it might not take very long at all. 

Remember that Fido may not always be the initiator, even though he is typically the bigger threat. Fluffy can and will pick arguments with her animal roommate. In fact, some of our feline pals bully their canine roommates. (Kitties are also notorious for stealing Fido’s bed, but that’s another topic.) 

One of the best things you can do is make sure your furry buddies are both receiving enough fun and exercise. Hopefully, they’ll unleash any angst on their toys, rather than each other.

If your dog has gone after your cat, don’t yell at or hit him. That may just make things worse. Although you should correct your dog verbally, avoid doing anything that may frighten or rile him. Fido could begin associating the cat with punishment, which will only end up making him resentful.  Separate them and reintroduce them from scratch.

If it’s been quite a while and things don’t seem to be improving, talk to your Norwalk, CA veterinarian.

How Do I Keep My Kitty Safe From Fido?

You’ll need to provide Fluffy with some safe havens from Fido. Choosing a cat tower with an enclosed upper level is a good idea. Cutting a little cat door in the door of a spare bedroom or perhaps a section of the house would also be possible. Even a spot behind the couch or under a bed will work. Keep in mind that your feline friend needs to be able to access food, water, and a litterbox without coming into contact with Fido.

Be sure to ask your Norwalk, CA vet for tips.

Introducing Dogs And Cats

First impressions are a very big deal to our four-legged pals. Go slow here: it will be hard to reverse the bad impressions of a sour meet and greet. Don’t just put Fido and Fluffy in the same room and pray for the best. 

Keep them separated at first. The newer pet should be housed in a different room at first. Provide everything they need, such as food, drink, toys, and blankets. Give them a few days to settle in.

You will probably witness your pets sniffing near that door during the next several days. They’ll be getting used to each other’s scents and coping with the idea that there’s another furball in town. 

When they seem ready—and when your vet gives the green light—introduce them. You can take Fluffy out of her room in a carrier. Or, let Fido meet her through a baby gate. 

Fido should be on a leash during this exchange. Watch how they behave very carefully. They should naturally be a little excited at this stage. However, if things don’t go well, separate them and start over from square one. Be sure to get some specific advice on this from your vet. 

How Do I Ensure My Pets Will Get Along?

The job here begins long before you bring your new pet home. The secret? Making the ideal match. Look for a shelter dog that has been assessed to be good with cats. Avoid adopting a breed with a strong prey drive. You’ll also want to consider both pets’ energy levels. If both of your pets are either young and active or calm, furry couch potatoes, you probably stand a better chance of success.

Age is an important factor as well. Kittens are sometimes better tolerated by dogs than adult cats. Even Fido tends to melt when he sees how cute little Fluffy is! (This can also make for a very adorable match.)

Safety should always be priority one. Don’t proceed if you know or believe your dog could attack or hurt your cat.

We can’t overstate the importance of training. Make sure that Fido is familiar with and follows simple commands, like Sit, Stay, Come, and Lay Down. See your veterinarian for guidance on how to include “Leave The Kitty Alone” into your dog friend’s training schedule.

You’ll also need to take care of feeding schedules and stations. One of the more typical reasons for conflict is disputes over food. One option is to feed Fluffy somewhere Fido cannot get to. (This can also keep him from eating her food.) 

Ask your vet for more advice.

What If Fido And Fluffy Just Don’t Get Along?

Sometimes, you can do everything right—choose the best match, acquaint your pets gradually, and provide them all they need—yet have pets that don’t get along. The safety of your animal friends should always come first. 

Depending on your household setup, you may be able to keep them separated. Fido might stay downstairs while Fluffy gets the upstairs, for example. Just make sure neither pet feels lonely or isolated.

However, there are situations in which the only safe alternative is to find a new home for one of the animals. Though this should be your last resort, it is undoubtedly a better option than having one of your animal pals hurt.

Conclusion: Fido and Fluffy may not be the best of friends from Day One, but they do learn to live together. Much of this depends on making the right match, being careful with introductions, and making your home safe and comfortable for both. 

Make An Appointment At Your Norwalk, CA Pet Hospital

Do you have questions about your cat’s or dog’s care or health? Is your pet due for an appointment? Contact us, your Norwalk, CA animal clinic, today! 

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