Your Cats and Dogs Can Get Along
5 March, 2012
My friend, Melissa, has a cat named Tiger that used to get along with the dogs in her home. Only recently, Tiger has become really aggressive with her dogs and she doesn’t know why. I wanted to see what I could find out to help her with this sudden behavioral change.
The cat is usually dominant
The cat is usually dominant in your home. Most pet owners make the mistake of protecting or favoring their cats when really it is the dog that is insecure. Learn to read the body posture of both animals. The dominant pet will claim his or her ground and move forward, while the submissive animal will look away.
Correct the cat when she swipes at the dog.
Don’t let your cat get away with aggression just because she’s a cat. There is no reason for her to walk by and swipe at your dog’s face just to make a point. Cats can learn what ‘no’ means. Similar to dogs, cats need rules. Many cats respond well to the sound of snapping my fingers and saying “Hey” or “No.” It’s their signal to back off.
I’m sorry.. I will be nicer!
We owners can create all the problems in dog-cat situations. Loud, excited voices, laughing, insecurity, nervousness or intentionally getting the dog or cat worked up is asking for trouble. It’s so important to stay relaxed. Act like the cat is no big deal and your dog will do the same.
Don’t let the cat hide
Provide the cat with a safe place he or she can retreat to, but don’t let her hang out there for days on end. Some cats will want to remain under the bed or on top of the highest shelf without coming down to eat or go to the bathroom. Give your cat a few hours as a break here and there, but make him or her be around the dog so she can get comfortable with him. Also make sure she feels safe enough to get to her litter box or she might have accidents.
Block dogs and cats from staring
All animals communicate with body language. In both dog and cat worlds, direct, head-on eye contact is a challenge. If you catch your animals staring at one another, it is a disaster waiting to happen. Usually it results with the cat fleeing and the dog chasing.
Give the animals breaks from one another
Make sure to give the dogs and cats separate spaces and/or breaks from each other. Try to separate them and make a new comfortable space for your cat. You should get out the cat toys and give them lots of attention so they can be comfortable in their space.
Reinforce the good behavior
Only pet the animals when they are calm and relaxed. Verbal and physical praise is better than food. Food can bring out dominance and possessiveness in dogs and cats and can lead to an attack. It is important to give both your cats and dogs verbal and physical praise.
It might take some time and effort on your part, but you can get your cats and dogs to live together harmoniously.