7 mistakes to avoid when introducing cats and dogs

Cats and dogs have very different tendencies, characteristics and personalities.Then is it impossible for these furry friends Coexist in one home Even become friends?

Lovers pet It is true that you can enjoy the essence of both under one roof. However, as with all relationships, establishing and fostering positive coexistence requires effort. To maintain a dog- and cat-friendly family, several factors need to be considered.

say Weekly newspaper, Zazie Todd-Author Wag: The science of making your dog happy And upcoming books Purr: The science of making your cat happy, It will be launched in the spring of 2022-a good early life experience is said to be the key, and if they are introduced as kittens, cats will get along better with dogs. The early stages of a kitten’s life, from two to seven weeks old, are a sensitive period of socialization.

“During this time, a wide range of positive experiences helped them grow into friendly, confident adult cats. Therefore, if they have positive experiences with dogs in their first home (with the breeder) and in your home, And they are still kittens, which is ideal,” Todd said.

say Weekly newspaper, Pam Johnson-Bennett is the author of several books on cat behavior and training. He was the former vice president of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. He said that in addition to socializing and active contact with other animals, the personality and characteristics of specific dogs are two types of pets. Variety as well as age and activity level play a crucial role in the introduction.

She said that the success of the introduction will depend on the dog’s parents’ control over the dog in terms of training and the cat’s sense of security. “If you want to make these two animals lifelong friends, take a moment to make a safe, progressive, and positive introduction.

“Take time to complement each other to ensure everyone’s safety and increase your chances of success. Use all the information you know about your resident pet to help you determine whether your partner is beneficial,” Johnson-Bennett said.

Todd said that a slow and gradual introduction is important, starting with the sense of smell, and then giving a brief, safe introduction in the same room.

A puppy and a pair of kittens on the grass.
Leoba via iStock / Getty Images Plus

Here, we take a closer look at some of the mistakes to avoid and the things that should not be done when introducing cats and dogs.

Don’t let dogs enter the cat area

Todd said that one of the most critical factors in establishing a good cat-dog relationship is the cat’s comfort and sense of security. Weekly newspaper.

Owners can help cats feel safe by ensuring that they have a space that dogs cannot reach, such as high areas such as cat trees or shelves, and access to hiding places that are only large enough for cats, she added.

It can be helpful to make these spaces easier for cats to reach, such as pulling out a chair from a dining table or pulling a sofa slightly away from the wall so that only the cat can pass through the gap. Todd said that pet doors can be used to keep dogs out, and some pet doors have cat doors.

A kitten is running in the field.
A kitten is running in the field.
master_ace via iStock / Getty Images Plus

Don’t put the cat in the cage when you meet for the first time

Cats generally hate carriers Putting them together will definitely not help them get in touch with the dog for the first time because they have no escape route.

Todd tells Weekly newspaper: “Whatever you do, don’t put the cat in their cage when you meet for the first time, because it means that if they feel unsafe when the dog comes to sniff the cage, they cannot escape.” When introducing it, it is wise to place the dog behind the pet door.

This degree of separation during the visual introduction allows them to meet without risk of injury. Once they appear calm in this separated environment, the owner can try to gather them in the same room, American Kennel Club (AKC) says.

Choose a neutral location for their meetings, not a safe space for dogs or cats. Cats should be allowed to roam freely so that they can escape when needed, and dogs should be leashed so you can control their movements and prevent them from chasing the cat (more on chasing below).

Todd also said that research shows that if the cat is at home before the dog arrives, it can also help introduce it.

A kitten in the carrier.
A kitten in the carrier.
Serhii Shleihel via iStock / Getty Images Plus

Don’t let the dog chase the cat

Dog playing by chasing When a cat runs away due to fear, the dog may think it is a naughty reaction and continue to chase. Johnson-Bennett explained that this interruption of communication can increase the cat’s fear and defensive behavior.

“It’s up to pet parents to help dogs learn the language of cats,” Johnson Bennett said Weekly newspaper.

Johnson-Bennett said that for some dogs, especially those that strongly chase small outdoor wild animals or outdoor cats, being introduced to cats is more challenging and may pose a risk of injury, adding: “If an animal If you don’t feel insecure, the introduction will not have good results.”

To avoid chasing instincts and promote calm demeanor, AKC recommends letting your dog know how you want cats to behave when they are present.

For example, the owner can tell their dog to sit or lie down in front of the cat to enhance the calm behavior and give them a treat for this behavior.

In this case, giving your dog something to not only enhance his calmness, but also teach him that the cat is a cue to seek rewards from you. AKC explained.

Todd said that some dogs, especially those that have a tendency to chase and kill small animals, may treat cats as food, so they are not safe around cats at all.

Some dogs have other tendencies that cats don’t like, such as the gaze style of a shepherd dog.

“Cats don’t like being stared at. Having said that, some sheepdogs get along well with cats, so it depends on the individual,” Todd pointed out.

A boy chasing a puppy.
A boy chasing a puppy.
alexei_tm via iStock / Getty Images Plus

Don’t put their food in the same space

Todd said it is important to provide dogs and cats with food and water in different spaces to ensure that cats do not have to compete with dogs for resources.

Cats should be fed separately from dogs, and make sure the cats have a good time with you. Todd added that when you spend time with cats, the owner should consider keeping the dog away from the room, especially when you play with them with a magic wand, to avoid the urge to chase the dog.

“them Nor should you pass by dogs to get into their trash tray,” Todd said Weekly newspaper.

A kitten eats food from the plate.
A kitten eats food from the plate.
Nils Jacobi via iStock / Getty Images Plus

No lengthy introduction

The meeting between dog and cat should be short and sweet. AKC recommends that these brief interactions can last at least a week in a day.

Providing snacks to two pets during these meetings can help establish a positive bond with each other. “Consider reserving special delicious treats for these meetings, so your pets will look forward to seeing each other,” AKC said.

The British charity International Cat Care stated that the initial introduction should gradually allow cats and dogs to spend more time “just” together.

If both people seem relaxed, bring them closer, but still keep the interaction short, and provide plenty of calm, positive experiences and interpersonal interaction when the pet is present.

Puppy biting a dog toy.
Puppy biting a dog toy.
Piotr Wytrazek via iStock / Getty Images Plus

Avoid crisis management

International Cat Care recommends that if the interaction starts to appear tense, avoid the urge to immediately intervene in taking one of the pets away.

The charity explained that behaviors such as swooping and catching a cat or dog to ease tension “will increase the level of arousal and may lead to problematic experiences that may be detrimental to future relationships.”

Once you anticipate that pets will be able to comfortably share a space, the obstacle will disappear for a while. But this should only happen after multiple gradual interactive conversations between cats and dogs, which suggests that they are likely to get along well in the same space.

If needed at any time during the meeting, luring pets away from everyone with food or toys will create space between them.

A puppy and a kitten are napping together.
A puppy and a kitten take a nap together.
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…But don’t leave them unattended

The introduction should always be carried out under direct supervision, which requires active monitoring and prevention of any problems through active interference, such as lure pets with food or toys.

International Cat Care said: “Supervise at all times and be alert to any external signs of emotional agitation, such as fear or excitement, changes in body language or posture.”

If you suspect that things may become intense, always proceed with caution and end the meeting when both pets seem relaxed. “Don’t risk it and let it go wrong,” the charity warned.

Since dogs and cats appear to be more peaceful and comfortable around each other, the owner should continue to praise and reward their positive interactions, so that these behaviors become ingrained.

But “it may take weeks to months before you confirm the results, don’t let them be alone together,” AKC said.

Even if your pet is at a stage where it can coexist without supervision, the owner still needs to take precautions for the safety of the two pets, such as trimming the cat’s nails or covering it with a fingernail to prevent harm to your dog.

AKC said that cats should also have a permanent dog-free space in the house, using baby doors or cat doors.

Dogs and cats under the sheets.
Dogs and cats under the sheets.
Prystai via iStock / Getty Images Plus

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