Dogs aren’t always chummy with cats. That’s science. Still, dozens of youtube videos have proved otherwise. Given the right circumstances and preparations, felines and canines can actually be the bestest of friends. If you already have a fur baby and are considering getting another one from the opposite kind, it’s important to think about how their potential relationship will look like. All that said, let’s talk about how you ca better prepare their first interaction!

Hello! Who are you?

We all know first impressions last. But did you know that this is just as true with dogs and cats? When you’re adopting a cat, don’t tag your dog along with you at a cat shelter. Exposing your barking companion can be traumatic and stressful for both parties. This also doesn’t help positively set the tone for when you bring both pets at home. While it can be a long shot, it doesn’t hurt to ask animal shelters if they have cats who’ve already had prior exposure to dogs. Cats who are comfortable with dogs make the entire introduction process much easier to handle. Nonetheless, there’s always a way to safely let them get to know each other.

Stay in your lane

Regardless of how large your home is, let your fur babies get used to each other’s smells. Let one freely roam around while the other is safely confined within a few meters of each other. This gives them enough time to understand that another fur companion is within distance.

You can either put one in a crate while the other frolics within your home or you can put one in a different room altogether as the other one wanders around. Without letting them see each other yet, take one fur baby and allow him or her to be a few meters around their counterpart. For instance, while your dog is inside another room, take the cat near the door or vice versa. If one of your fur babies is placed in a crate, let the other draw closer to your other furry pal without letting them see each other. You can either place the crate on an elevated platform or temporarily cover the crate with a handkerchief. At all times, be sure to supervise whoever is free. Do this once a day for a week before letting them catch sight of each other.

If your dog barks excessively at the barrier, you should refer to the experts to help both of them adjust to their new life. Should you leave your home, make sure both are placed in separate and distant areas to ensure no unsupervised interaction takes place.

If your dog shows no signs of being alarmed with another four-legged baby’s presence in the house or vice versa, you can proceed to let them see each other from afar.

Tie me up

Allow both fur kids to see each other in one room. During the first few times, make sure your dog is leashed to avoid violent encounters. Until both pets act normal around each other—the cat eating happily and calmly, and the dog lazily ignoring the cat—only then will you be able to slowly loosen your grip around your dog’s leash. Should any of them display acts of fear or aggression, you’re going to have to keep doing this until both parties don’t make a big fuss with the other around. To repeat, you can only ever loosen your grip on the dog’s leash (or get rid of it altogether) when they’re both comfortable and relaxed, given the other’s presence.

Training your dog can be a lot of hard work, and it won’t always be easy. However, rest assured that this isn’t impossible. Hundreds of dogs and cats are each other’s go-to pals, and social media has allowed us to see a harmony we didn’t always know could exist.

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