There wouldn't be a reason for the expression, “fighting like cats and dogs” unless cats and dogs really did fight. After all, aren't they natural enemies? But we pet lovers often like both species and want to adopt both into our homes. You've seen videos on television of cute little kittens riding on the back of a big dog and puppies snuggled up with a mother cat, but does that really happen in real life? This isn't a yes or no question. It's one of those, “it depends” answers. The reality is that some cats and dogs will get along just fine or at least tolerate each other without fighting. But in some cases, it's just never going to work and that particular dog paired with that particular cat is a lethal combination. Here's how to stop your cats and dogs from fighting.
The safest and easiest way to initiate a relationship between cats and dogs are when they are still kittens and puppies. Acquiring them and introducing them to each other at a young age and at the same time before one already dominates the house gives them an opportunity to bond with one another. When you first put the two adorable little critters together, you need to supervise them closely in order to observe how the react to one another. Is the puppy freaking the kitty out and making it run and jump up high on a closet shelf and hide?
Logistically, though, there is usually an already existing pet at home when the other one is being brought in to add to the family. This is not an impossible situation to handle; it just takes a little more effort and time. You should think about the situation from the perspective of the existing pet (whether the first pet is the cat or the dog). All he understands is that his territory is being invaded and the attention of his owners is being divided now with another creature. Let the existing pet get to smell the new pet before you bring it into the house. You can rub down the new kitten or puppy with a towel or brush and then allow the existing dog or cat to smell it so that when the animal that belongs to the smell enters the household, it'll already be a familiar smell. Do the exact same thing by rubbing a cloth on the existing pet and putting it in the carrier with the new pet to let it know the smell before it enters your home.
Some people used the technique of putting each pet on the opposite sides of a closed door to hear and smell each other before meeting. Others allow the first meeting of the two animals be a face-to-face meeting with one pet in a carrier and the other on a leash or restraining device. After they've “met” through the carrier, open up the carrier's door and let them meet up close and in person, while observing closely for any signs of aggression by either of them.
Some dog breeds are just well-known for not getting along with cats. Among them are Weimaraners, Greyhounds, and Pitbulls. But of course, there is always that exception where your pet Greyhound might just love his little tabby feline sister. Keep in mind too that even if your family dog gets along with your family cat, he might not like other cats and could still show predatory behavior toward non-family cats if one crosses his path.
Again, the best thing that you can do is to supervise the two pets together for several sessions before allowing them to be alone together to ensure that either of them isn't attacking the other one or showing aggressive behavior. It all boils down to the temperament and personality of the individual dog and cat as to whether or not they will ever enjoy a harmonious relationship.
Shelly is a long time pet lover and a writer for Discount Pet Mall: where you can find deals on indoor pet gates and orthopedic dog beds.