Can Cats and Dogs Live Together?
By Paul Duxbury
Many people believe that it is impossible for cats and dogs to live together peacefully. Perhaps this belief is brought on by images seen in cartoons or by one or two negative experiences between cats and dogs. But, in reality, it is quite possible for the two species to live together peacefully â€“ and even to live together as friends.
Genetically, there are reasons for cats and dogs to dislike each other. By nature, dogs are predators that tend to chase things that move quickly and that are smaller than them. Of course, cats fit this description, making them the perfect play toy for dogs wanting to utilize their predatory skills.
Cats, who are also predatory, can also exhibit stalking behaviours toward dogs; despite the fact the dog is usually much bigger. In addition, cats will defend themselves, so thus begins the rivalry.
Of course genetics and instinct alone isnâ€™t the only reason why dogs and cats sometimes donâ€™t get along. During the first 2 to 3 months of an animalâ€™s life, it learns who its friends and its enemies are. Therefore, a puppy raised with cats will most likely tend to get along better with the cats. Similarly, a kitten raised with dogs will not think much of the dogs. In fact, it is often easier to raise a new kitten in a household with dogs than the other way around because cats tend to be more territorial than dogs. A highly predatory dog, however, will make it more difficult to introduce a new kitten to the household.
Training Pets to Live in Peace and Harmony
Teaching cats and dogs that donâ€™t get along with each other to live together can be a somewhat difficult task, but it is possible. The best way to accomplish this is to allow the animals to spend time together while a human chaperone is present. The more time animals spend with one another, the more tolerant they become of the other. In fact, this can often lead to a very affectionate relationship. Puppies and kittens that are raised together have the best chance of developing a positive relationship.
If a dog has been particularly cruel to cats in the past, however, it is probably not a good idea to try to get the two species to co-exist. Even if the dog doesnâ€™t manage to get the cat, it will most likely make the catâ€™s life difficult by continually chasing after it. Similarly, a puppy might need to be protected from a particularly territorial or mean cat.
Dogs can also be trained to leave cats alone, just as they can be trained to fetch, sit or stand still. For a pet owner who has the time and patience, the dog can be leashed with a training collar. Another person can bring the cat increasingly closer to the dog. If the dog sits still it, should be praised. If it attempts to lunge after the cat, the leash should be pulled and the dog should be told â€œNo. Leave it!â€ Some dogs learn quickly while others take a little longer.
Another approach for training the dog can also be utilized. This approach uses positive association. Each time the dog is in the same room as the cat, it is provided with extra attention and treats. Soon, the dog realizes having the cat in the room is a good thing because it gets something good out of it. In this way, it positively associates the cat with things that it desires â€“ affection and tasty treats!
Even cats and dogs that get along might start fighting during mealtime. Most animals are very protective of their food. In addition, they tend to be quite curious about the food the other animal is enjoying. For this reason, it is best to have separate feeding stations for cats and dogs.
It is best to place the catâ€™s food in a high, hard to reach area. Otherwise, the dog will have a tendency to eat the catâ€™s food, or to at least try to eat it. Of course, the food should still be placed in an area the cat can easily reach and eat comfortably. Cats donâ€™t generally try to eat dog food. But, in the case of a cat that does, this behaviour should be discouraged. The best way to do this is to feed the two animals at the same time, but in different places.
It is also important to remember that cat and dog food each have different nutrients, so one should not be used in place of the other. Therefore, it is not only necessary to keep the food separate in order for the pets to live in harmony; it is also necessary to keep them healthy.
For more information on caring for your Cat check out Paul’s site at http://www.basic-cat-care.co.uk.
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