The arrival of a new member to your family may not be a good reception for your cat, especially if the newcomer is neither more nor less than a dog. And it is that your nice feline can be the most cuddly and adorable for you, but behave in turn as the worst enemy for your dog.
Indeed, the saying of getting along like a dog and a cat may be partly right in some cases, but is it something irremediable? Quite the contrary, because if you want to know how to make a cat accept a dog, in this Best pets lover article we will detail what you can do to solve this enmity.
Can a cat and a dog get along?
The relationship between dogs and cats has a reputation for being complicated. But nothing is further from the truth, since the formation of a stable and secure relationship between these two species will depend on multiple factors.
By this, we mean that, indeed, a cat and a dog can get along to the point of being great friends or, at least, tolerating living in the same home. But if you are wondering why your cat hisses and growls at your dog, you should know that this relationship will largely depend on whether the following conditions are met :
- If adequate socialization has been carried out during the puppy stage.
- Give them adequate adaptation and acceptance time.
- Establish clear guidelines for coexistence.
- Provide a suitable environment for both.
As we will see below when any of these points or multiple of them limp, a bad relationship can arise between both species that will make harmonious coexistence at home difficult.
In this other AnimalWised article we give you some tips for a dog and a cat to get along.
Why does my cat not accept my dog?
Both dogs and cats are social animals, which have the innate tendency to create bonds of friendship and belonging to a group. However, in this case, the learning process will be a fundamental part and will determine how sociable they are, as well as what they should and should not be afraid of. With this in mind, let’s see why your cat rejects your dog:
No socialization with dogs
The period of socialization of a puppy is a stage in which it is especially susceptible to learning about its environment and those who inhabit it.
In this period, your kitten learns to relate to others, be it with other cats, people, or dogs. If, on the other hand, your puppy cat did not meet any friendly dog, now introducing him to a dog is something completely unknown to him, which is why he is afraid of it.
A very common reason why your cat might reject your canine friend is that the feline had a bad experience with one or more dogs in the past; it can be a simple bark, that it has chased you, or even aggression.
If we add to this what was mentioned above, that is, that your cat has not known friendly dogs as a puppy, the perfect combination will be formed so that your cat shamelessly shows his discomfort with the new member of the family.
If your cat was used to living comfortably alone at home, that is, without having to share, it is natural that he feels uncomfortable with the sudden presence of a third member at home, since this can take away the resources that are valuable to him, like his food, his bed, the pampering you give him, etc. Therefore, you need to keep this threat away.
Rushing to introduce the new member of the family
It is of the utmost importance when introducing a new member to the home, be it a dog or a cat, among others, that they try to be as progressive as possible. And it is that cats are very susceptible to changes; they need time to adapt and associate this change with something positive. But if they are sudden, the feline will feel stressed and will probably develop an irritable or skittish mood, in addition to clearly affecting the quality of life.
How to make a cat accept a dog?
If your cat openly rejects your dog, growls, hisses, or may even attack you, as well as if you are wondering how to introduce a dog into the house if you live with a cat, you should know that this relationship may be due to a completely hostile side or, on the other hand, tolerable and even pleasant if you do it properly and progressively.
So let’s see how to introduce a dog and a cat correctly so that your two pets get along:
Prepare the ground before the arrival
As we have mentioned, any sudden change will make your cat feel insecure and develop stress. It is for this reason that, before bringing your dog home, prepare your home thoroughly a few days before so that your cat can adapt in advance. This implies:
- Make sure that both your dog and your cat will have, at least, an individual space where they feel safe. Keep in mind that your cat’s shelter should be located in a high place where your feline can monitor the environment and the dog cannot reach it.
- Each of your pets should have access to water and food individually and without being bothered by the other, as a conflict could arise.
- Your cat’s litterbox should be placed in an intimate place, where your dog cannot access.
- Prepare a space for your dog(such as a room) in which it will spend these first days of adaptation. This area should not be a point of interest for your cat (such as the living room) so that it does not perceive it as something negative.
- It is recommended that you use a pheromone diffuser to help your cat feel comfortable despite the change.
Because smell is not a sense that we humans have as highly developed, we sometimes overlook that for both dogs and cats, smell is an essential part of their lives.
For this reason, a few days before the visual contact between your two furry ones, it will be necessary as an introduction to make an olfactory exchange, for example by exchanging toys or blankets.
let them see each other
The visual exchange is, without a doubt, the most delicate part, since it is the one that can most easily scare your cat. For this reason, eye contact should first of all be made from afar, at a distance where your cat feels safe. In this process, it is recommended that someone help you because while one person is watching the cat, the other must be next to the dog on a leash.
In addition, it will be very important that in order to associate this experience with something positive, you reinforce both your cat and your dog with prizes. In other words, every time your cat sees your dog and is calm (remember to keep a distance where he feels safe), you should reward him. In the same way, if your dog does not react by being nervous, barking… when seeing the feline, it should also be rewarded so that it learns to be calm (and does not scare your cat).
Little by little you will have to shorten distances, always reinforcing the calm behavior of both through prizes, so that they perceive the presence of the other as something positive and not a reason for fear. Never try to rush them too quickly, as forcing the situation will only create a negative experience for your feline, which will be even more difficult to reverse.
let them interact
If your two furries are already close enough to touch and both are calm, let them interact with each other, say hello and sniff each other, and reward them for being so nice to each other.
For safety reasons, it is important that your dog wears a muzzle, especially if he is an adult (for this reason you should get him used to wear it beforehand), to prevent any quick movement of the cat from inciting the dog to play roughly, potentially hurting him.
Let them loose but with vigilance
Finally, if you are 100% sure that your two pets get along and display a calm demeanor in each other’s presence, you can start letting them loose in the same space. Always under your supervision and avoiding situations in which conflicts could arise, such as a bowl of food.