Cats and dogs fight for a bunch of reasons, from all-nature through to all-nurture and everywhere in between. But the good news according to cat expert Jackson Galaxy is they’re not natural mortal enemies; that’s a myth.
As it happens Fido and Felix can call a truce and live peacefully. Despite dogs being territorial and cats being skittish (we’ve all heard the phrase scaredy-cat) it’s entirely possible for them to cohabit happily. And even on occasion be best buds.
As pet parent and go-between, it’s up to you to create a home environment that allows your cats and dogs to share the same space successfully.
Do your cats and dogs fight all the time?
Galaxy says, “If cats and dogs are brought up together in a positive, loving, encouraging environment, they’re going to be friends or at least tolerate each other”.
Read on for tips for making that safe space for your fur babies.
The truth about cats’ and dogs’ personalities
Many of us humans think certain breeds of dogs and cats might make good pairings.
But it isn’t all about the balance of Burmese or Main Coon and Maltese or Great Dane. The personalities of your individual pets are actually what it’s more about. That said, some breeds are more likely than others to produce a dog or cat with a relaxed personality.
Regardless of the breed though, the pet personalities need to mesh. If your cat prefers solitude and your dog likes lots of cuddles, you could have a mismatch on your hands. If your furkids really don’t get on and seem incompatible, sad as it might be, it may be best to keep them separate by giving each its own space…
For example, give your cat access to alone time by keeping a window open that your dog can’t get to. Try out a few designated ‘individual-pet’ zones like a spare room or bedroom for your cat and the garden for your dog…
When separate spaces aren’t available or possible, and you’ve a pet personality mismatch, consider reaching out to a pet behaviourist. Prevention – or resolving the issue in its early stages – is always better than cure.
If you’re planning to get two pets of different species at once, or introducing a new furkid to one who’s already made itself at home, make sure you block out regular intervals in your calendar. That way you can spend time helping them become friends from the start.
How to train your dog
It’s easy to forgo spending lots of regular time working on helping your dog become a beacon of good behaviour. If this is you, know it can make the world of difference to your pup’s social engagement with other pets and to their happiness.
Not only do dogs love the time spent with you during training,most have a strong aptitude for learning commands. It helps them behave and it keeps them entertained and active in all the right ways. Most of all, using your pup’s excess energy on training can make them a better-behaved friend to your cat.
Another way to challenge and exercise your dog’s imagination is to mix up the routes you walk and the places you take them. A pup who smells the neighbourhood walks, parks and beaches is more likely to be a happy friend to their cat counterpart than one who’s been pent up. They’re also less likely to be overbearing and try smelling your cat the way they would other dogs.
Separate feeding places
Dogs are generally unimpressed with anyone who gets too close to their food bowl. The only exception is when you’re putting food into it, which has a distinct sound and smell. While you can simply tell your children not to play with pup’s food, you can’t explain it easily to your cat.
For this reason, it’s up to you to make sure cats and dogs have different spots for eating. You’ll most likely save your cat a lot of potentially dangerous strife and bad vibes, but so too your dog. Dogs will often use their size to push in and eat the cat’s food. They might gobble it all only to look up and find a feisty feline leaping at their face with outstretched claws.
Let’s rewind a bit. No-one wants to be put in a position where they must defend their dinner. Be it human, cat or dog. You’ll save yourself and your pets a whole lot of trouble by keeping their food and water apart.
You can achieve this by keeping your cat’s food higher up, say on a countertop where only they can get to it. Or ideally, use separate rooms to save yourself having to keeping tabs on your pets sneaking portions from each other’s food bowls.
First impressions count to avoid when cats and dogs fight
First impressions are so important because they can easily set the tone for the rest of a friendship (or frenemy-ship). It’s up to you to set up your pets for success from the start. When you first bring home a new pet, it’s important to keep both pets in separate areas of the home.
Introduce them to each other’s scent over one or more days and let them feed on either side of a closed door. Eating ‘together’ while smelling each other reinforces a positive association between your pets. Switch up the rooms, toys and bedding but keep them apart. That way they can sniff with safety and learn who each other is before going face to face.
Once you’ve done this, let them see each other in a controlled manner. Pooch on the leash and cat in your lap (you’ll need two people for this).
Keep your pets feeling the good vibe by providing treats and pats throughout, then let them go back to their alone space. Repeat this step as many times as necessary before their first-time off leash introduction.
Out with cat and dog fights, in with pet insurance
We hope your puss and pup will be best friends soon… It may not happen overnight but be patient.
Pet insurance is good for your peace of mind, your pets, and your back pocket. Just in case there’s a scratch or bite wound borne from pet sibling rivalry (we hope not), and someone needs treatment, your vet visits won’t cost you as much.
Plus you’ll get a multiple pet discount if both or all your pets are covered.
Why cats and dogs fight – over to you
Has your furry family ever erupted into flying fur balls? Were you able to settle the sibling rivalry between your canine and feline kids? Share your stories with us on our Facebook page.