Ever since the beginning of time, cats and dogs have been portrayed as archenemies. While some brave felines and coolheaded canines get along enough to debunk the stereotype, others hiss and bark at each other so much that we’re ultimately reminded of where Jim Davis got the idea to make his two most famous characters, Garfield and Odie, weary of each other.
If you think that owning a cat means you can’t get a dog, and vice versa, then you’re wrong. With a lot of time and patience, you can teach cats and dogs to get along! You just need to go slow and let them work out their differences at their own pace. However, you can help speed up the process by actively encouraging them to be nice to each other. You can do so in many different ways.
Encourage the dog and cat to drink out of each other’s water bowls. That way, they can get used to each other’s scent. Be sure not to let them eat each other’s food, because dogs and cats have different dietary needs.
Praise the dog every time he acts friendly towards the cat. Many dogs feel inclined to bark at cats and chase them. If your dog does that, be sure to say, “No! Bad dog!” Also, be sure to give him a lot of praise and perhaps a treat whenever he doesn’t bother the cat when she walks into the room.
Give the cat her own space. If your cat has her own space out of reach of your dog, she’ll have time to get comfortable enough to venture out. Most times, when a cat feels cornered with no way out, she’ll lash out at the dog.
Literally bring the dog and cat closer to each other. It takes two people to do this. You can hold the cat until she’s relaxed. Have the other person slowly bring the dog in the room and bring the dog closer step by step. After each step, you should wait for both the cat and dog to settle down, and then repeat until the cat and dog are physically close enough without freaking out.
Never scold the dog or the cat if they’re both in the same room. If you yell at one of them, the other pet will think that you’re yelling at him, too. For example, if you tell your dog to stop barking at your cat, the cat will wonder what she did wrong because she heard you yelling. The best way to deal with this is to take the misbehaving pet out of the room, scold him, and then bring him back in the room.
Play, play, and play! Find games that both pets will enjoy. A laser toy usually does the trick. The dog and the cat will both focus on the toy and learn to bond at the same time.
Remember, it does take a lot of time and patience to get a cat and dog to accept each other, so don’t give up! If one of them is too violent with the other, you should keep them separated in different rooms.
What are some of the techniques you’ve used to get a cat and dog to like each other? Please share them with us!