Do you have both dogs and cats? Or are you considering adding a dog to a kitty-only household, or vice versa? While many of our furry patients get along just fine with their four-legged roommates, sometimes cats and dogs fight like, well, cats and dogs. Below, a Portland, OR vet discusses helping Fluffy and Fido get along.
Before adopting another pet, it’s very important to consider the size, age, temperament, and history of both pets. If Fluffy has always been an only pet, she will likely not be happy to find herself with a canine ‘sibling.’ However, because some dogs do have strong prey drive, it’s important to choose a pooch that has had kitties for friends before. When it’s time to make introductions, you’ll want to do so slowly, over the course of several days. Ask your vet for specific advice.
Since generally dogs are the larger pet, it’s important to provide your feline pal with safe, doggy-proof havens in every room. That way, Fluffy always has a spot to retreat to if she feels frightened. This can be a cat tower, a pet tent or tipi, or even a spot under the couch.
Take time to play with your dog every day, and make sure that he is getting enough exercise. This will help your pup burn off any excess energy, so he will be calmer, and hopefully a bit tired, afterwards. If Fido uses all of his energy running after a toy, he’ll be less interested in trying to play with Fluffy.
Keeping toys for both dogs and cats can be tricky, especially with big pooches. Dogs often tend to ‘borrow’ their kitties’ playthings. This can be dangerous with big dogs, as they can easily choke on cat toys. Use a baby gate to create a kitty haven for Fluffy, and keep her playthings in there.
Offer your furry friends toys, treats, and attention near each other. This will help them form positive associations about one another. If your pets fight, don’t punish them: this may only increase tension between them. Instead, separate them, and then reintroduce them slowly. Never leave your pets together unattended until you are sure they’re friends.
Do you have questions or concerns about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Portland, OR animal clinic, today!