The relationship between dogs and cats, far from being controversial, can flow with great harmony if their characters are related and we help them lay the foundations for a happy coexistence. Despite the popular saying of ‘getting along like a cat and dog’, there are many specimens of both species that share good times in company and playing games with each other.
However, although cats and dogs are sociable animals that seek to forge bonds and belong to a group, they cannot always tolerate their habitat companion if they have not interacted socially as puppies or if their experiences have been negative. For this reason, we want to reveal to you the secrets to make a cat accept a dog.
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Things that influence the acceptance of the cat to the dog
It is curious how, on some occasions, a cat accepts his new dog friend first without further discussion, while in other cases, despite all our efforts and precautions, they are barely tolerated, and there are several aspects that will tip the balance. to one side or the other way. Do you want to know them?
The degree of socialization of the cat
The first weeks of life are decisive in the learning of cats and dogs. If they have had to interact with other animals , of the same or other species and with people of different ages, this familiarizes them with new experiences. Thus, as adults they will show less resistance and will adapt better to this type of situation.
The feline socialization stage takes place between the second and the seventh week of life, while in dogs it takes place between the third and twelfth. If you have just welcomed a kitten, you will need to expose it to social interaction to prevent behavior disorders later.
Past experiences with other dogs
The experiences, traumatic or enriching, of the past exert a strong weight on the behavior of our pets, especially that of kittens, since they are more sensitive and associations last longer in their brain.
If your cat has already lived with a dog and things did not go well because it chased him incessantly, frightened him with his barking or even came to bite him, it is understandable that from the outset the idea of meeting another dog does not fill him with joy.
The age of the pussycat and the dog
In general, young specimens are more receptive to interaction and new experiences, precisely because of that innate curiosity that accompanies the weeks of socialization. The younger both of you are, the more likely it is that they will hit it off the first time and become good friends who will grow up together.
Temperament is an innate trait that conditions the smooth running of the relationship between a dog and a cat. For example, a playful and active dog will overwhelm, and even stress, an introverted cat. In general, regardless of the character of each specimen, felines display a more prudent, observant and controlling psychology than that of dogs.
The presentation between the dog and the cat
This is the most determining factor, along with the degree of socialization. Ethologists agree that it should be carried out gradually , without pressure, without forcing approaches and guaranteeing the integrity of both. Therefore, the dog must always be on the leash and, preferably, it must wear a muzzle so as not to injure the cat.
Each one should have an individual space for exclusive use in which they feel relaxed and safe. The cats appreciate having a refuge in the heights and that the sandbox is inaccessible for the dog. Each one should have their feeder and drinker, since the competition for resources generates a lot of stress, especially for cats.
The needs of each
The basic needs of the animal welfare of both must be satisfied. Otherwise, they will not be balanced or predisposed to meet a new partner.
How to get a cat to accept a dog, our recommendations
As we say, cats are more territorial and controlling than dogs. Therefore, if you must introduce a dog as a new tenant to your cat, you should give priority to the reactions and the rhythm of that. Dogs tend to be more tolerant and can learn basic obedience commands to keep the situation under control.
Take note of the tips that we provide below to predispose your cat to accept your dog:
- Before the arrival of the dog,you must prepare the stays for both of you, or if you prefer, you can allocate a restricted area just for the dog, for example, by placing a barrier. In this way, the veteran tenant, your cat, will not feel invaded or displaced and the dog will be able to become familiar little by little.
- When the dog comes homethe cat should stay in his room. It is convenient to maintain the distances a priori and that the dog is tied with the leash. If you can, tire him out with a long walk. In this way, you will not be so energetic and belligerent.
- A few days after the dog’s arrival,you should start olfactory exchanges, for example, exchanging their toys and blankets so that they get to know each other. At this point, synthetic pheromones can be of great help in reducing stresses.
Physical contact and environmental enrichment
- Soon after it will be the moment of the first visual contacts. The cat should have an escape route or a shelter to turn to if it feels threatened or upset. Forcing him to stay against his will will only make the process difficult and lengthen it over time.
- As they tolerate these eye contacts, you should extend their duration. Of course, always under your supervision. When you must be absent, leave them each in their individual room so that they do not have access to each other and cannot fight.
- Every time they approach or show interest in their new partner, you should reward them equally. Positive reinforcement in the form of snacks, caresses or toys has great pedagogical power, which in this case will help you burn through stages and consolidate achievements. Do not stop leaning on him.
- Environmental enrichment, both for cats and dogs, will favor their physical exercise and cognitive stimulation, both essential conditions for this mutual learning to come to fruition.
- If you observe that your kitten is stressed or behaves in an aggressive way (hisses, growls at him, etc.) with the dog, you should postpone the approach and take him to his room to try it at another time.
It is a process
Remember to proceed calmly, treating both of you equally and without pressure. Each animal has its own rhythm and the approach will take place, have no doubt about it. However, although in most cases the outcome is happy, it may happen that they do not get along. If you notice that this is your case, you should consult an ethologist veterinarian.