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Dogs and cats can usually live together quite peacefully, unlike what memes and cartoons will tell you. However, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy task. Creating a harmonious environment where both can thrive requires planning, patience and persistence. And who knows, they might even end up becoming best friends!
There is one thing you must remember when introducing a new dog into your house; dogs can kill a cat very easily, even if they are only playing. Some dogs may have a high prey drive and should not be left alone with your cat. Another thing that may happen is that one of them may send ‘play’ signals that can be misinterpreted by the other. If it is understood as aggression by one animal, then it might be a little difficult to handle it the situation.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind –
1- Create a safe place for your cat, where the new dog cannot get to it. Mark a safe location in every room, even if it is on top of the cupboard.
2- Keep your cat’s litter box in a safe area, since many dogs tend to eat cat feces. If the dog suddenly ambushes the litter, it may scare your cat forever and it will end up relieving itself elsewhere in the house. Keep the cat’s food and water dishes in a safe area as well.
3 – Exercise your dog and feed them a nice meal before the introduction, so it puts them in a good and relaxed mood.
4- Introduce first by smell. This will require you to put the cat in a safe place and let the dog sniff its smell for half an hour. Do the same thing with your cat, where you take the dog out for a walk and let the cat get familiar with its smell.
5 – Put your dog on a short leash. This will allow you to control it if he starts to chase the cat.
6- The cat might hiss, or even run. This is normal. Let them both eye each other from a distance. Pet your dog soothingly. Give them both treats and rewards, especially when they both comply to your commands.
7- Once they start getting along on the leash, let go of it. However, keep it within reach to prevent any accidents.
8 – Do not leave them alone until you’re sure they’re both comfortable with each other and there will be no trouble. You could also try to swap their bedding to get them familiar with each other’s smell.
9 – If the introductions don’t go smoothly, seek professional help.
10 – Do not use punishment; it will just make matters worse.
With all these tips in place, your pets should now get along
fine. Now go, have fun!