One stereotype that is floating around is that cats and dogs are often enemies. This is an assumption that the well-known expert Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet wants to put a stop to.
Dogs are known to be territorial and courageous while cats are often perceived as easily startled and on edge. While this statement may imply the two are not compatible when it comes to living together, there are certain ways to help them become friends.
TIP 1: Focus on the personality of your pet rather than the breed.
While there is a range of traits that are more common in certain breeds than others, every single dog and cat has a different personality. Sometimes this can be subtle, and other times it is highly noticeable. Another important factor to take into account behind personality is the age of your pet. The personality of your pet can change with age. For example, if you adopt an aged dog and a skitty (skanky kitten) the aged dog may be very much bothered by the cat as it may have a very calm nature and would e aggravated with a cat wanting to play or be in its territory.
It is always good to do your research and have a backup plan. Talk to the pets previous owners and find out how they are around other animals and learn about their personality first. Alternatively, you may wish to arrange a household set-up where the two can live apart and in peace.
TIP 2: Train your dog first - this is crucial
Teach your dog to control its impulses. If your dog is making quick leaps or jumps when it sees food or is excited, it may not be compatible with a cat. Your dog will need to be trained to stay still when told to. Its first meeting with the cat is of the utmost importance, if this begins with your dog leaping at the feline, this may mean bad news.
TIP 3: Make sure your cat has its safe haven.
Cats need a safe haven in the house, before meeting a dog. This has to be off-limits to your dog so that the cat has somewhere to go or hide any time it feels threatened. A great practice to ensure your cat has this spot that's entirely theirs is to install high shelving or have a super tall tree in your backyard. Cats are like the animal version of spider man. They can climb with ease, unlike any dogs.
A cats litter is another no go zone for your dog. This place should also be entirely your cat's space so they can feel confident when doing their business. Besides, dogs can bring along worms that can affect the health of your cat causing sickness, anaemia, and other bowel issues.
TIP 4: Re-channel your dog's energy with interactive play.
With interactive play, slow feeding and toys to keep them occupied, you can help your dog re-channel any impulsive behaviour or energy that could set a cat off. This will keep them calm allowing them to be on the same wavelength as your cat which will help them enjoy each-others company much more.
TIP 5: Raise the two together from the start (most effective).
There's something so powerful about raising a dog and cat together from the very beginning. As they grow together they tolerate each other much more naturally. There is no pre-established hierarchy. Puppies are much less confident and will allow cats to secure their position at the top of the ladder, as they need to be.
The two will be very young and will absorb information like sponges and will mesh together through life. A much more beautiful relationship will form this way.