If there is one word that can describe a cat, it is “territorial”. It is so accurate in its description that the words cats and territorial can even be synonyms.
In many cases, pet parents hesitate in adding a new pet in a feline-dominated household. This is because aside from cats being territorial, our feline pals are also creatures of habit and would find it a challenge to adjust to changes including and up to the addition of pets – cats or not.
Because of these feline characteristics, pet parents mostly do not look into the possibility of bringing home another pet. But as in many other things, there are ways by which the cat can adjust to the additional pet. In fact, a cat and a dog (or another pet) can coexist and live peacefully together under one roof.
And here, my friends, are a few things you need to know to help you reasons to turn your home into a cat’s refuge along with other small pets.
Love Takes Time
You can’t rush love or affection. This is always true not just in human relationships but also with pets.
When you add another pet to a feline-dominated household, chances are you won’t be seeing the cat and the new pet bonding and becoming the best of friends overnight. This takes time. While it can take weeks for some, it could be months for others.
And even if cats would be able to adjust later on, it is highly important that the new pet is introduced gradually. Take baby steps because one of the most important things to put to mind is to ensure both pets are safe.
There can be animosity when territories are all of a sudden threatened. And while dogs can be as friendly and chummy most of the time, cats can be quite aggressive and can start up a fight.
In case this happens, make sure your new (and old) pets have their own safe place to run to. When new pets are being introduced, give time for both parties to actually adjust to each other’s presence.
Never forget, however, that stressful incidents can happen and so you should be on the lookout in case these fights escalate
May We Formally Introduce…
As previously mentioned cats are territorial beings and do not appreciate changes in routine. An additional pet, be it a dog or something else, could potentially trigger the cat and result in the latter’s aggression. As such, a proper introduction is called for.
When introducing a new pet to your resident cat, make sure that the cat is already full of food, water or could have been a little bit tired of walking or running around. This would lessen its territorial tendencies during the introduction.
Aside from these, please also be reminded of the following:
- Trim the nails if possible. You never know when you would be scratched.
- Keep both pets in a leash. Just making sure they don’t scratch each other’s faces if the fighting escalates.
- Let both pets familiarize with each other’s scents.
- Try and bring them slowly closer. If both behaved, you reward one or both pets, depending on which behaved and who did not.
If there is still animosity, separate both pets with leashes on. It would be advisable to have both separated in individual rooms.
- Repeat the process perhaps later in the day or the next day until both pets are comfortable with each other’s presence.
- Cats and dogs, when trained properly, can easily get the message that you are trying to convey and start behaving in each other’s presence.
Start them young and you’d see a pair of best friends growing up.
In a recent study by the Tel Aviv University, it was found that cats and dogs, when introduced at a younger age, have higher tendencies of getting along well.
Cats that are less than 6 months and dogs that are less than a year old can still easily learn each other’s languages, get used to each other’s body scents, habits, and even body language which actually helps them understand each other’s needs.
Starting them young also builds trust among both pets, hence, the minimized or even eliminated dog-cat fights.
Better Off Separated
Cats are known predators; dogs, too. If you have an additional pet other than a dog, that would be fine. But if you have a dog and a cat, you have to remember that as both pets are predators, fights over food would be quite common.
When you have both, make sure to give them enough space when eating. Space should be large enough for one to not feel threatened that its food will be eaten by the other. Aside from dogs not being allowed to eat cat food, giving them enough space during mealtimes fosters respect to one’s territory (and food).
In time, with both pets feeling each other’s presence during mealtimes, they would eventually get used to the company and finally ignore, or better yet, accept each other.
Fight For Equality
A pet with more toys than the other sparks jealousy. That’s the simple reason as to why you, as a pet parent, need to provide all your pets with the same amount of attention, toys, and care. Jealousy fosters resentment and you don’t want that to destroy your pets’ relationships with each other.
Also, as we are in the discussion of toys, make sure to give your cats toys that could be the target of their hunting instincts. Your dog, social being as it is, needs a toy which it can consider its companion and pal.
Having an additional pet to a cat-dominated household is possible, no matter how territorial your feline friend is. Just make sure that they are properly introduced and that the additional pet does not pose a threat to the cat that’s already stayed longer at home. With proper guidance and supervision, the idea of having a cat and a dog sleeping on your couch together is not so far off after all.