Maybe you’ve decided, after watching the 100th “Dog and Cat Buddies” Youtube video, that you want to welcome a new pet into your family. Or perhaps a new relationship requires merging two pet families into one. No matter the reason why you find yourself with a dog and cat in the same household, we’ll give you some tips on how to make their relationship Youtube level adorable.
If possible, try to get pets similar in age and/or stage of life. While the idea of seeing your ten-year-old cat mothering a three-month-old new puppy may make your heart swoon, the reality is that your mature cat may not be so instantly inviting. Pets around the same age have the advantage of growing up together and getting used to their daily routines involving the other animal. Helpful tools like the American Kennel Club’s “My Dog in Human Years” chart allows you to guesstimate your pup’s age by breed and size.
2. Alone Time
As tempting as it is to be a helicopter pet parent – don’t. Part of what fosters a working relationship between cats and dogs is time unsupervised (or at least uninterrupted) by their human parents. When you give your pets time alone, they’re able to work out their boundaries with each other in a way that they each understand. If you’re uncomfortable leaving your pets completely unsupervised, try using pet sitting sites like DogVacay or Wag! to have a human mediator at home for a few hours or to take your dog for a quick walk while you’re away.
3. Body Language
Cats and Dogs have different signals they send via their body language. Get to know what a dog’s wagging tail means compared to what a cat’s “puffy tail” means. If the body language behavior from one of your pets looks cute but is actually irritating the other pet, find a way to discourage the irritating behavior. Visit http://www.preventivevet.com/dogsfor examples of what these behaviors look like and how to train your cat and dog.
4. Equal Attention
Even though they’re siblings, your cat and dog don’t do everything together – this is actually a good thing. Lean into the activities that are done only with your dog and those done only with your cat. Stick to these play dates and rituals with each pet and don’t feel compelled to include the other. The individualized attention will make each pet feel valued. You don’t want your cat and dog fighting for your attention on top of fighting each other.
Some pairings just aren’t a fantastic match. Remember to be patient, seek professional training if needed, and be prepared to accept that your Spike and Fluffy may never have their own Instagram page of gushy Spike and Fluffy photos for all the world to see. Instead, Spike may love his spot under the dinner table while Fluffy contentedly takes her place in the windowsill. They’re not love-birds, but they respect each other – and this is the most important thing.