Owning a dog is already a lot to handle. But what if you want a dog and a cat? Our pet pro Luciano Aguilar says that if introduced properly, a dog and cat can certainly live in the same house, and may actually be friends.
"Dogs and cats may seem like perfect strangers, but some actually get along quite well together," says Luciano. "If they join the family when they're both young, your dog and cat will have a much better chance of getting along later in life. But, if your dog and cat don't grow up together, make sure their first meeting is a positive one."
Luciano says you should prepare your dog for the introduction by brushing up on some basic obedience skills like, Sit and Come. This will help you to control your dog around his new feline friend.
Here's an exercise you can use to acquaint the two. Keep your cat in one room. Using a baby gate, block the entrance to the room, but allow the door to remain open. Bring your dog to the gate and tell him to Sit. Reward him with treats for good, calm behavior. Your cat may run and hide, and that's okay. With practice, the two will become more aware of each other.
Then you can have a friend or family member hold the cat close to the dog, allowing the two to become more aware of each other in this safe environment. When the two seem comfortable in the presence of each other, remove the gate and bring them closer together in the same room. Keep a short leash on your dog, and let your cat set the pace. Be ready to pull the leash if your dog shows any signs of aggression.
If you follow these steps, over time your dog and cat should gradually become more and more comfortable with each other. They may even become life long buddies.
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