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Introducing Dogs and Cats

Are you considering getting your canine pal a feline “sibling” or vice versa? If so, you may be a bit nervous about how the two will interact. If you’ve decided you have room in your Carmel home for both types of animals, you’ll want to choose your second furry buddy carefully.

Dogs and cats can be the best of friends, or the worst of enemies. Generally, the two can learn to live together, or at least manage a sort of truce. Sometimes, however, the two species just don’t mix well. The end result will depend on a few things.

The dog’s personality and breed should be the main consideration when deciding whether or not Fido is a suitable roommate for a cat. If you are adopting an adult dog, you should be able to find out if the dog is considered cat-safe or not. Dogs with aggression issues, or dogs who try to chase cats, will not be a good match. Puppies are typically safer, as they can grow up with Fluffy, but keep in mind that your puppy will become an adult dog very quickly, and sooner or later, breed characteristics will appear.

Some dogs are unbelievably tolerant of cats, especially when it comes to kittens. The internet is full of adorable videos of big dogs letting frisky little kittens climb all over them. There are few things more heartwarming than watching a serene German Shepherd let a rambunctious little kitten attack its tail, or seeing a big old Lab sigh patiently while a baby cat is attacking its nose. While these types of scenarios are not uncommon, they aren’t always the norm. Dogs can seriously hurt cats, and Fluffy’s sharp little claws and teeth can do quite a number on a canine.

As far as the cat goes, results may vary. Some cats will barely skip a beat when you bring Fido home, some may hide, and others may want to play immediately. Then there are the cats that may attack, likely out of fear. If your cat is anxious, timid, or easily frightened, she may take longer to get used to a dog.

Your dog should be leashed for all early interactions. You also want to avoid leaving the dog and cat alone, at least until they are used to one another. We recommend making sure your cat has a safe retreat in every room, a spot the dog can’t reach. You can also give your cat a ‘safe room’ by adding a dog gate.

Please visit our site frequently for more tips from your Carmel vet on cats and dogs.

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