Cats and Dogs!! You Have Cats – Can You Get a Dog?
Introducing Your New Dog To Your Cat
Do dogs and cats really fight, like cats and dogs? Yes, and no. Some cats and some dogs can co-exist and in some cases, some can do more than co-exist, they can become a family. Not all dogs and cats are meant to live together however. Consider the following four tips when considering getting a dog to go along with your cats.
The Cat Is Boss
The first step in getting (or not getting) a dog is to remember that the cat, or cats, are always the boss. Your cats have claws though! You don’t want your cat needlessly beating up your new dog, or do you? Put yourself in the place of your cat. You weigh 10 pounds. Suddenly a creature 7 times bigger than you who is faster, stronger, and all around more scary than you, enters your home. Are you threatened? Yes, of course you are! You’ve got a strong survival instinct and you aren’t about to let this big oaf of a dog destroy that. You’re going to fight!
Now put yourself in the place of your dog. You like to play; maybe you like to chase things. Maybe you have an instinct that tells you once you catch what you’re chasing you bite it and shake it. Do you, the dog, need to learn not to chase and potentially kill the cats? Yes you do. Your dog should be scratch and bitten by your cats. Your dog may be the gentlest dog in the universe, but your dog may have no idea of her strength. She could hurt your cats without realizing she was playing too rough.
They get to tell the dog when to play and when not to play. They get to decide what is too rough and what isn’t. Dogs learn from a good scratch on the nose . . . promote the learning.
Promoting The Learning
While your cat has a free pass to discipline your dog as she pleases, you don’t. Some cats won’t use their claws on dogs. I know that’s strange, but I own two cats who, no matter what my dog does, will not use their claws. Luckily for them, I don’t let my dog get way with much. I have set the standard, rather than the cats, on what is acceptable and what isn’t. I don’t want the dog to hurt the cats while I’m not looking, or to hurt the cats while they try to defend themselves.
Choosing The Right Dog
Let’s back up a little. Before your cats, and potential new dog, meet, you want to choose the right dog. But how do you do that? First consider the breed. Some breeds are much more docile than others. Some breeds are also bred to hunt small animals or rodents. Such breeds don’t always mix well with cats, as cats can trigger their hunting instincts. You also need to consider the dog’s history. If you get your dog from a shelter or rescue there is a good chance that the shelter or rescue does cat testing. Cat testing can be done in a variety of ways, but usually the dog is put on one side of a wall or cage and the cat is put on the other. The shelter staff has a way to tell if the dog is cat friendly or not. If you do adopt a dog from a shelter, ask them specifically if the dog has been cat tested. If they haven’t you can request it.
If you want to adopt a puppy, once again, consider the breed, but often when a dog grows up with a cat the dog accepts the cat as a part of her pack and will act accordingly, including defending the cat if necessary.
You’ve found a dog, now your dog and your cats need to meet. The best way to do this is to have hands on the dog, and the cats. You will probably need more than one person to do this. When animals are in a stressful situation, your touch can help calm them, and the introduction of two species is a stressful situation. It is imperative that you keep control of the dog. Remember the dog could potentially kill your cat; your cat will not kill your dog.
Let the animals smell each other. There will be hissing and growling, that’s okay, but remember your cat is the boss and you set the standard. Stop any aggressive behavior before it starts. Discipline your dog when she is too rough. You need to let your dog know that the cat is not to be hurt. The cat is to be treated gently, and in most cases left alone.
Your cat may never like your dog, but most likely after time your cat will at least tolerate your dog.