The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Can Cats And Dogs Really Live Together?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Can Cats And Dogs Really Live Together?

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says, Absolutely! Dogs and cats can become fast friends. Ideally, they should become accustomed to the other species as youngsters. This early exposure teaches them that it is normal to co-exist in a household.

The sensitive period of learning regarding social acceptability is between 3 and 12 weeks of age in dogs and between 2 and 7 weeks of age in cats. During this time a plethora of unlikely liaisons can be engineered using appropriate ploys. During the sensitive period it is possible to arrange seemingly impossible feats like lions being made to lie down with lambs. However, it is often not possible to raise kittens with puppies to create such "bon accord au naturelle."  But a huge step in the right direction involves introducing puppies and kittens to friendly members of the opposite species during this window of time.

It is not uncommon for dogs and cats to enjoy each other's company. Take the time to manage your cat-dog introduction properly, and you could be setting up a friendship that will last for the rest your pets' lives.

Can cats and dogs really live together? What do you think?

Facts to consider when cohabiting cats and dogs:

1. Gentle, sweet-natured, or lazy dogs are more likely to be good with cats than strong-willed, active, alert dogs.

2. Strong-willed cats that stand their ground and hiss and spit, or swipe with a paw, are more likely to cope with a new dog, than the timid sort that run from everything.

3. As a cat owner who wants to own a dog, never choose a stray, or ones you don't know the history of.

4. Consider its temperament, breed and past history. Ask the advice of shelter staff, your vet and friends, if you are inexperienced. Choose a cat that has been used to dogs if possible, preferably one which is not timid and shy.

5. Some dogs have a very high predatory drive and cannot be trusted with any small, fast moving creature.

6. Allow your cat to go where it likes, but not to leave the room. Most of these encounters will be, or should be, uneventful.

7. If you are a dog owner who wants to own a cat, think carefully about whether your dog would be suitable first.

8. A word of caution to owners of more than one dog. One dog will act as an individual, more than one will act as a pack which could have dire consequences for a new cat.

9. Introductions must be supervised, and they must be handled with planning, care and patience.

10. Ask if the dog has been used to living with cats and take the advice of shelter staff on the likelihood of it settling with cats.

11. .Do not force them together, let them move at their own speed - which will probably be very slowly.

12. You will need time and patience if these two animals from entirely different species are to become friends. It probably will happen eventually, but until you are absolutely sure, do not leave them alone together.





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