Written by Jennifer Evans, DVM
We ™ve all heard the saying ˜fighting like cats and dogs ™ but sometimes cats and dogs can be the best of friends!! If raised together, dogs and cats are often great buddies; playing, sleeping and even eating together. There is something quite profound about seeing a large pit bull snuggled up with a cat, they should be enemies yet they aren ™t. Kind of makes you wonder what we should be capable of as a ˜more intelligent ™ species!
While it ™s true that some dogs just simply can ™t safely be around cats, many can be taught appropriate ˜cat manners. ™ The easiest way to start integrating the two species is either with a youngster of each or with an adult dog or cat that is used to the other species and a youngster who doesn ™t know they should be afraid. An adult cat that runs unfortunately becomes a really fun game for a puppy and can actually become ˜prey ™ for adult dogs that don ™t know better. Whenever introducing the two, always have the dog under control with a leash and have the cat ™s nails trimmed. See how they do and progress from there. Keeping the cat in a crate for short training periods and rewarding the dog when he ignores the cat or possibly squirting him with water if he ™s too fixated will sometimes help an adult dog learn how to peacefully co-exist with a cat. Always be cautious when introducing new critters to each other and never leave them alone unsupervised until they have proven they can get along safely. Sometimes it takes a while for them to become friends.
Our office manager Lavella adopted her œchiweenie from the shelter months ago and it took a while for her cat ˜Rocky ™ to accept the new addition, but in time he realized the benefits of having another four-legged buddy in the house. The rewards of having a dog and cat that love each other are quite numerous, not the least of which includes really awesome photo ops!