Dogs and cats:

Many people own both dogs and cats and the age old rivalry can cause problems.  However, setting up both dog and cat to succeed will help friendship blossom.

The first priority is to ensure that the cat, as both predator and prey species, has a safe area.  Cats need a ‘core’ territory and shouldn’t have to run the gauntlet of the dog in order to access their vital resources.  A Feliway diffuser in the core area may also help keep the cats stress level to a minimum.  If the cat is allowed outdoors then it will need safe access to the outdoors.

Before being introduced to the cat, the dog would need to be taught some basic obedience commands.  Placing a child gate between the cat’s and the dog’s area will allow familiarity to develop safely  between cat and dog.  In addition, along light lead such as a houseline for the dog could also come in handy.    

  • Feeding the dog and the cat at the same time each day either side of the childgate will start to facilitate good relations and change associations. 
  • When the cat appears at the childgate, the dog should be lured to their bed with a tasty, high value treat.  Additionally leading the dog with the houseline may also be necessary to begin with.  The cat will also need a reward wet food is often appreciated.

The dog will start to welcome the cat’s appearance, as the cat’s appearance now predicts treats.  Concurrently, as the dog starts to appear less interested in the cat then the cat’s anxiety will start to diminish.  At this point the owner can consider opening the child gate at a calm time of the day.  

  • creating high up spaces for the cat in shared areas will help keep relationships sweet

Ultimately, with consistency, when the cat walks into the room, the dog will go to its bed.  This is bound to impress friends and family members!  Over time, the dog and cat will start to form a relationship maybe even becoming friends!

However, the dog may still chase the cat in the garden and will have to be managed to ensure relationships stay positive.