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A Turramurra Vet Article

Dog and Cat in the Same Household? 5 Tips to Help Them Live in Harmony

Dog and Cat

Dog and Cat in the Same Household? 5 Tips to Help Them Live in Harmony

by Katie Bedrossian, Pet Behaviour Consultant

Dogs and cats have become known as natural enemies, however 1 in 5 Australian households have both a dog and a cat living under the same roof.

Despite the bad rap this relationship gets, it is possible for dogs and cats to live in harmony.

Here are my top 5 tips to build a positive relationship between cats and dogs.

  1. Ensure both pets have a separate space where the other can’t go (this is most important for the pet not keen on interaction). The cat’s private space is a good space to put the cat litter tray.
  2. Ensure both pets can eat their food without being disturbed by the other. This usually means physically separating. However, another option is to find a distance where both pets are aware of the other one eating, but they feel safe.
  3. Have daily individual playtime with both pets and if you have a second person available, have both dog and cat play alongside each other but physically separated.
  4. Prevent chasing. This often comes from the dog’s side of the relationship. This behaviour can be reduced by placing your dog on a lead or behind a barrier when your cat is nearby.
  5. Reward any calm behaviour with treats/food rations. To achieve calm behaviour, some pets will initially need visual barriers such as towels over pens (or corflute panels cable tied to pens for dogs that pull the towels down).

This is just a snippet of tips to help reduce any tension between cats and dogs living in the same household. Some cats and dogs need further management of anxiety and a more personalised plan before they can progress.

Once that bond is there and they trust each other (which can take up to 3 months environmental modification and training) the relationship they have can be magical to watch.

Happy bonding!




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