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Helping Your Canine And Feline Pals Get Along
May 1, 2024

Dogs and cats are the most popular pets here in the U.S.. While there are plenty of people who are dog people or cat people, numerous households have both. Although Fluffy and Fido have had their fair share of ups and downs, they can live together harmoniously. Sometimes they even become best buds! However, there is no guarantee of that. A Bellevue, WA vet offers tips on helping Fido and Fluffy get along.

How Do You Assess Whether Pets Will Get Along? 

The groundwork for this should begin well in advance. Finding the perfect match is the most important thing. If you’re considering adopting a shelter dog, it’s important to find one that has been assessed as being compatible with cats. Steer clear of breeds with a high prey drive.

Having pets that share similar energy levels can increase your chances of success. Whether they are both couch potatoes or young and playful, finding a good match is key.

Age is also a contributing factor. You may have better luck with a kitten. Many pups just can’t resist little Fluffy! 

Keep in mind that disagreements about food often lead to tension. You may need to follow a few steps to keep the peace at dinner time. It’s probably not a bad idea to feed Fluffy in an area Fido cannot reach.

Just make safety your top priority at all times. Make sure that Fido is well-versed in and follows basic commands, including Sit, Stay, Come, and Lay Down. 

How Should I Introduce A Cat And Dog?

This is very important! First impressions are a big deal to our furry buddies. 

It’s essential to introduce Fluffy and Fido to each other in a controlled and gradual manner. Start by placing them in different areas. It is advisable to initially keep the newer pet in a separate area. Make sure to provide all the essentials, such as food, water, toys, and bedding. It’s important to visit them regularly, but also give them a few days to adjust to their new environment.

In the coming days, your pets will be intrigued by what’s on the other side of the door. They’ll also get used to each other’s scents. Feeding them on different sides of the door will help them form favorable impressions of one another.

Once both pets have become accustomed to each other’s presence, it’s time to introduce them. (Of course, you’ll need to get the thumbs-up from your Bellevue, WA veterinarian.)

Make certain that Fido remains on a leash during this interaction. Observe their behavior closely. They’ll probably be a bit defensive and wary at this stage. Your kitty may also hiss and puff out her fur. However, any tension should gradually decrease. If things don’t go well, quickly separate them and begin again.How Much Time Does It Typically Take For A Cat To Adjust To Living With A Dog?

Cats are creatures of habit, and typically take their time adjusting to significant changes. It might take Fluffy up to a year to fully adjust to her new canine companion. It ultimately will depend on your feline pal’s previous experience with Fido. (And to some extent, her cattitude.) 

It’s important to remember that although Fido is typically the more dangerous one, he is not always the one who starts the trouble. Fluffy does sometimes bully her canine roommates. (She is also notorious for stealing Fido’s bed!) 

Will My Cat And Dog Eventually Get Along?

That depends on various factors, such as both pets’ ages, temperaments, sizes, and histories. Often, Fido and Fluffy feel cautious and uncertain around each other at first, but manage to develop a harmonious relationship with time. 

If it’s been quite a while and things don’t seem to be improving, talk to your Bellevue, WA vet or pet behaviorist.

How Can I Prevent My Pets From Fighting?

There are no ways to guarantee this. However, with time, love, patience, and tact, you can minimize the likelihood of conflict. 

Don’t yell at or punish Fido for chasing the cat. That could potentially exacerbate the situation. You can reprimand Fido verbally, but don’t go beyond that. Keep your approach stern but calm to avoid causing fear or aggression. Fido might begin associating the cat with punishment, which won’t do much to soften his feelings towards her. 

If they have an altercation, separate them right away. Then, start from the beginning and reintroduce them.

Making sure that both of your pets are getting plenty of toys, exercise, and playtime is going to be very helpful here. The key is for them to work off their zoomies playing rather than fighting. (Tip: Some cat toys can pose a choking risk for dogs, so it’s important to store Fluffy’s toys in a location that Fido cannot access.)

Is It A Good Idea To Have Both A Dog And A Cat?

It can be! Many of our clients have both. It varies depending on both the dog and the cat’s age, size, breed, history, and temperament. 

Keep in mind that certain dogs have a natural prey drive. In the wild, our canine pals rely on their hunting skills for survival. Kitties can occasionally awaken that innate hunting instinct. This can lead to not only unhappy roommates, but can also be very dangerous.

Fluffy isn’t always innocent here – sometimes cats are the ones causing trouble! However, although a kitty’s sharp teeth and claws can cause harm, cats are generally more vulnerable.

What Are Some Ways To Ensure The Safety Of My Cat Around My Dog?

First and foremost, it’s important to provide Fluffy with a few safe spaces where Fido cannot reach her. Consider getting a cat tower that features a closed upper level. Or, put a small cat door in the door to a spare bedroom or another area of the house. Your cat should have easy access to their food, water, and litterbox without having to interact with the dog.

What If Your Dog And Cat Just Don’t Get Along?

Sometimes, you can follow all the correct steps, from choosing the perfect match to introducing your pets with care, yet still find yourself with pets that don’t get along. 

Safety should always be your top priority. In certain situations, it may be possible to give them separate areas. For instance, maybe Fluffy can have the upstairs area, while Fido can stay downstairs. That, of course, depends on your household setup. You also don’t want either of your pets to feel isolated. 

Unfortunately, in certain situations, the best course of action may be to find a new home for one of the pets. While this should be a last resort, it is certainly better than risking injury.

Conclusion: While cats and dogs sometimes fight like cats and dogs, they often manage to live together without conflict. Being proactive is key. Choosing the right pets, taking your time with introductions, and being attentive and consistent, are all important. 

Book An Appointment At Your Bellevue, WA  Veterinary Hospital

Is your pet due for an appointment? Do you have questions about Fido or Fluffy’s health or care needs? Contact us at your Bellevue, WA  animal hospital today!