With Australia having some of the highest statistics of dog and cat ownership in the world there's lots of families who choose to have the best of both worlds and share their homes with both a dog and a cat.
But how do we give our pets the best chance of co-existing together? Follow our handy tips below to help your cat live together happily with dogs.
Introducing new pets
When introducing a new cat to the family let both pets get used to each others smell and sounds first by setting the new cat up in a separate part of the house. This also gives your new cat a chance to settle comfortably into their new environment.
On your pets first meetings always make sure that to have two people in the room as you need to supervise all interactions carefully. If possible we recommend having him/her safely in a cat carrier at first and your dog on a lead. With time, let the cat have the freedom of the room and allow the dog to watch from a distance but don't allow them to move towards the cat, if the cat approaches on its' terms make sure you reward your dog's good behaviour. Please do not leave them alone together until you are confident they can get along. The main thing to remember is to have patience and go at your animals' pace, don’t try to force them to get along, good relationships take time!
Always make sure to reward your pets for accepting each other by using praise and treats.
Creating an environment for both cats and dogs
Remember that cats and dogs like different things, cats often prefer to be able to get up high and look down on their world. This also allows them to have some 'me-time' away from other pets when needed. Dogs spend more time investigating their environment, so providing them with interactive toys will help keep them occupied and less interested in what the cat is up to.
Make sure each pet is provided with their own food and water bowls and that all pets are able to access these at all times. Dogs often love the taste of cat food and this can leave your kitty hungry so keeping the cat food bowl up high can prevent your dog from stealing a sneaky snack.
Spending one on one time with each pet, for instance taking your dog for a walk or having play time with your cat, will help strengthen the bond you have together and make them less stressed when they need to be separated for visits to the vet etc.
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.