How can dog and cat live together in piece?
Cats and dogs are often considered enemies and many people cannot imagine their coexistence. Yet there are many households where both pets live together, and it certainly does not seem like a battlefield. When introducing your dog and cat, just follow a few basic rules and they will soon not be far from becoming friends.
The easiest thing of all is to raise them together from birth. Puppy and kitten get used to each other amazingly fast and in most cases, they do not even think of each other as other species, it’s more like to be a brother and sister. Even though the possibility of getting both at the same time rarely occurs, you don’t have to worry, it is not that difficult to introduce an already adult animal to a kitten or puppy. Be cautious at that very moment, though, and keep them under control until you are really sure they are perfectly comfy with each other. Just in case, you can trim the cat's claws at the beginning to prevent an injury of the dog.
How about the first acquaintance? A playpen can make it easier. The animals can sniff through it, see each other well and still remain safe and probably feel more calm. Have several meetings this way. Start with a few minutes and if everything goes smoothly, extend the intervals. When you think it's time to remove the playpen, get your dog on leash for safety and let the pets approach each other. The leash functions as a safety device here, to keep the dog from chasing the cat. Get the dog to sit still, praise them both, use some tasty treats if you wish, and if everything goes without fuss, reward both their behaviors accordingly.
During this process, be patient and be well aware of the differences between cats and dogs. A cat is naturally territorial, and if she has never been exposed to other animals, she may initially guard her territory with her claws. In contrast, a dog is a friendly, loyal creature that in most situations likes to get along with others. Even so, the cat’s territorial behavior might not be always up to the dog’s taste. Therefore, they both should know well where their beds are placed, so they can leave uncomfortable situation and use it as their safe spot.
One big pack
The goal is for the dog to accept the cat into his pack and for the cat to tolerate him. It often turns out that the cat conquers the dog so much that in the end she "bosses" the whole household. Think often about not giving either one a reason to be jealous. Try to pay attention to them separately, one at a time, so when you pet one animal, do not forget to do the same with the other and then ideally play with both at once.
What about their feeding?
Each pet should definitely have their own food and water bowls. Ideally, placed farther apart, so they won’t fight about it.
One more practical advice. Find a suitable place for the cat's litter box. A place the dog cannot access, because dogs love to go there to munch on cat feces. And we’re sure you would not like that.
Good luck with this introduction and let us know how it went!