Cats and dogs are known to fight like, well, cats and dogs. However, if you want to adopt a cat, there is no reason you can’t teach your dog to get along with it. It just takes a little time.
Consider your dog’s breed and temperament. Some breeds, such as terriers, have a very strong prey drive. They are bred to chase, and are going to do exactly the same thing to a cat. You’ll need to be particularly careful when introducing your cat to a dog with this type of temperament.
Ideally, choose a young kitten to add to your family. It is less likely to be afraid of dogs. Adult cats can learn to share their lives with a dog but again, it can take much longer.
Before you introduce him to your new cat, pop some Sleepytime Tonic on your dog’s tongue. Herbs such as Skullcap, Passion Flower and Valerian will calm your dog and reduce any anxiety he may feel. Sleepytime Tonic also contains Bach Flower Remedies which reduce shyness, fear and nervousness. Dogs love its natural honey flavor, and it is safe enough to use every day.
Here is a step by step guide to help your dog accept your cat.
1. When you bring your cat home, keep it in a separate room to your dog, but allow them the freedom to sniff around the door. This lets them hear each other, and become familiar with the scent of each other. Continue to do this for a few days, until each is no longer excited by the presence of the other.
2. Put your kitten in a cat carrier, and encourage your dog to walk up to the carrier on a leash. Your dog can investigate your cat through the spaces in the side of the carrier and your cat can do the same, while both are kept quite safe. If your dog is behaving nicely around your cat, give him regular treats as a reward.
3. The last step is to allow your cat and dog to meet without any barriers in place. You should only attempt this if your dog is quite relaxed around your cat. Keep him on a short leash, and let both animals sniff each other. Again, reward your dog for staying calm around your cat.
Only after several weeks of your cat and dog interacting well under close supervision should you let your dog off his leash.
One thing to keep in mind is that this process shouldn’t be rushed. If at any time your dog or cat becomes stressed, take a break and move back to the previous step in the process. There is no hurry. If you do this right, your dog and cat will live harmoniously for many years.
In spite of your best efforts, things may just not work out between your cat and your dog. Make sure they are always supervised when they’re in the same room if they don’t appear to be getting along. Lock them up so they can’t get to each other if you need to leave them unsupervised. They are both quite capable of hurting each other, and it’s not worth taking any chances.
Cats and dogs can live together very well, providing they’re introduced properly. Do invest time in the process, and your life will be enriched by the company of both of your furry friends.