How long does it take for cats and dogs to get used to each other?

How long does it take for cats and dogs to get used to each other?

Some people like dogs, while others can’t live without their cats. But what if you love both? If you want to welcome both canine and feline companions into your home at the same time, there are some important things to keep in mind.

As much as we like to think of dogs and cats living together in harmony, that might not always be the case.

That’s why it pays to put a little extra thought into the situation before purchasing a pooch or making plans for a moggy.

How long does it take for dogs and cats to get used to each other’s company? When should you introduce them? Which animal should you buy first? And how are you going find the right pet insurance to protect your pet once they’ve settled in?

Here we answer some of the most common questions people have when they’re considering adding to their animal family.

 

Guess who’s in charge?

One recent study discussed on Psychology Today found that it was the cat’s comfort that ultimately determined the overall success of the canine/feline relationship. It seems that when the cat’s happy, everyone’s happy!

The study also found that the earlier you can introduce the two animals, the better, and that the cat should ideally be brought home first to get used to its surroundings without having a dog to contend with.

Surprisingly, they found that cats were more likely to threaten dogs. And perhaps unsurprisingly, that the two are not very good at sharing – each kept to their own food, beds and toys.

A kitten reaching out to touch the nose of a dog

Introducing cats and dogs for the first time

One of the key things to remember when introducing your cat and dog for the first time is to take things slowly and don’t have high expectations.

Cats.org.uk agrees that if you can introduce kittens and puppies while they’re still young, this has the best chance of success as neither will know any different and they’ll get used to each other’s company much more quickly. 

Its top tips include:

 

  • Think about their personalities


    If you have a particularly timid cat or aggressive dog (or vice versa) think carefully about whether you should introduce a new playmate at all.

 

  • Start slow


    Always supervise the first meeting as a puppy or dog may be too boisterous for kittens or cats, and keep it short.

 

  • Mix their smells

Scent is super important when introducing new animals to each other. By stroking your dog and then cat, you pass on their scents so they can smell each other before their first meeting.

This ‘scent swapping’ is a key stage which you shouldn’t skip.

Switch up the rooms you keep the animals in too, so they can sniff each other before meeting face to face.

As Battersea.org.uk suggests, you should repeat this process two or three times in the first few days.

They say it’s likely that your cat might try to give your pooch a swipe on the nose, just to let them know who’s boss, so make sure you’re ready to move your dog away if things become a little heated.

If they still don’t seem to be getting on after a few days of supervised contact, you can call Battersea’s experienced team for advice.

When it comes to the first face-to-face meeting, Cats.org.uk also suggests that you should keep the animals apart by using a child’s stair gate so they can see each other but not touch.

Alternatively, one person can hold the cat calmly, while another person brings the dog into the room on a lead. Don’t make any harsh or fast movements – keep everything calm and slow so they can get used to being in the same room.

 

Top tips to keep your cat calm

A dog and a cat laying on a sofa next to their owner

The Blue Cross has some additional tips that will help to keep your cat calm during the first meeting:

 

  • Install a Feliway diffuser in your home if your cat or kitten is particularly nervous. This will give off pheromones that will help your cat feel calm.

 

  • If you’re introducing a kitten to a full-size dog, a stair gate might not be a practical option because the size of the kitty. In this case, place the kitten and its litter tray in a dog crate and let the dog approach slowly, supervising at all times.

 

  • Keep your cat’s food well away from your dog or puppy. Also, don’t let the dog disturb the cat’s litter tray or else it might start toileting in different places.

 

  • Be extra vigilant if you’re introducing your cat or kitten to a terrier or greyhound, as these types of breeds have a very high prey drive and will naturally chase and hunt.

 

Top tips to keep your dog calm

A cat nudging its head into a dog laying down

Keeping your dog under control is key if you want a happy relationship to blossom between your two pets. Paws.org says that you should:

 

  • Make sure you’ve mastered your sit, stay, down, and drop commands – hopefully you won’t have to use the last one!

 

  • Have a tasty treat ready for your dog to praise him when he’s being gentle. It also gives you a distraction if the meeting isn’t going as planned.

 

  • Consider keeping your cat and dog away from each other when you leave the house, just for the first few weeks until you’re certain that they’re comfortable with each other.

 

Protecting multiple pets with pet insurance

Whether you have one dog and one cat or multiples of each, talking to the specialists about pet insurance is a must.

At Purely Pets, we can find the right cover to suit your budget and needs with our tailored offering of Pet Insurance in the UK. 

Choose from accident only, 12-month or lifetime cover and manage your policy online when it suits you with access 24 hours a day. As a new or renewing Purely Pets customer, you’ll also have access to our free 24-hour vet helpline if you’re worried about your pet and need advice from a professional.

The most important thing to remember is that, just like humans, all cats and dogs are different with their own personalities. Some cats will love the company of a canine companion, while others will want you all to themselves and vice versa!

Talk to our friendly team and get a quick quote for pet insurance today.

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