Age-old thinking was that cats and dogs were as compatible as cats and mice. But many pet-loving parents have comingled the two into a harmonious household. So, what makes the difference? We know that not all dogs will live peacefully with a cat.
Just like humans, every dog has its own personality, and there are no absolutes. For example, you can have a dog with keen hunting instincts that are also very protective of their pack. If they have grown up with or been raised with a kitten, they are likely to shelter it from harm.
Relationships that are fostered early in life are generally the most successful. A puppy who has been raised around a cat most likely will consider the cat to be part of the family. He may not like other cats outside of his house, but will accept his own. As the dog grows, however, his natural prey instinct may kick in, so keeping a watchful eye on their relationship is recommended.
Introducing a New Dog to Your Cat
If you have a cat and would like to add a dog to the family, it’s probably best to bring in a puppy. An adult dog could be risky, but there are ways to tell if a lovable pup at the shelter will work out. You can learn a lot from their body language.
Dogs respond well to their natural senses. A recent study revealed that dogs are more responsive to cat sounds than to the sight or smell of a cat. So, if you have interest in bringing home a shelter dog, take a recording of cat sounds with you to see how the dog reacts. A dog with a history of harming cats will take longer to orient himself to the cat sounds, the study found.
Be sure to ask the shelter or rescue organization about the dog’s previous history and his behavior around people and other animals. No matter how desperate those puppy eyes are, trust that history will repeat itself. If the dog has gone after a cat or other small animal in the past, he most likely will again.
Do your research before bringing a new dog into your household. Look into the dog's breed. Is he bred for hunting small prey? Does he have a strong natural prey instinct? If you are interested in a dog that is considered one of the high-risk breeds, it may not be worth the risk of endangering your cat with that specific dog.
If you are bringing home an adult dog, start by familiarizing him with the sounds of your cat to see how he reacts. Be sure to closely supervise the first introductions and interactions between any two animals. You can never completely predict or trust how the two will respond to each other, and it is always best to err on the side of caution.
This blog is brought to you by Under the Weather®, producer of a wide range of products to support optimal health for pets. Check out our new line of cat supplements!
Under the Weather is also an avid participant in the pet overpopulation cause. A portion of every sale is channeled to the Ruffy Rescue Transport Fund which finances the transportation of pets from overpopulated kill shelters around the U.S.A. to Vermont for adoption. The fund also covers the cost of spaying and neutering these animals. Get to know more about Ruffy and the inspiration for our company.
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