Yes, there will be cats that do not get along with dogs, and there will be dogs that will not get along with cats.
If your cat and dog do not get along, this does not mean that their situation should stay this way forever.
Contrary to popular belief, cats and dogs are not natural enemies. It may seem this way because they are the two most common domesticated pets to cohabitate.
There are steps a pet owner can take to make their cat-dog relationship harmonious, or even potentially a strong friendship.
Why does my cat hate my dog?
Your cat hates your dog because they are both territorial animals. They instinctually mark their territories and do not take kindly to other animals encroaching. This behavior could arise when you have an adult cat and you are introducing a puppy into your home.
Cats are stubborn and may not be as open to getting along with your dog. Dogs are friendlier and may come off as too intense when introducing themselves to your cat. This could annoy your cat and cause it to react by physically harming your dog.
What do I do if my cat hates my dog?
There are several steps you can take as a pet owner to better understand and amend the antagonistic relationship between your cat and dog.
1. Discourage aggression by understanding their personalities
Hostility between cats and dogs can lead to aggression. Male cats and dogs are more assertive and dominant compared to the female of their species. Different cat and dog breeds have unique personalities that may contribute to their ingrained unfriendliness to other animals. Cat breeds such as the Cymric and Siamese are not as friendly toward dogs. Dog breeds such as Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Chihuahuas, Fox Terriers, Schnauzers, Dachshunds, Dalmatians, and Chow Chows are the least cat-friendly. There are several cat breeds that get along well with dogs, and vice versa.
2. Train your pets
Training your pets can discourage aggression when you reward good behavior and deny benefits when they misbehave. Your cat may have these negative feelings toward your dog as a response to a similar feeling from your dog. The dog may be constantly barking at your cat or chasing it. Discourage this behavior by using command words such as “sit,” “stay down,” or “stop.”
Dogs are more trainable than cats and have a better understanding of their owner’s language and expressions. Use this to train your dog to be gentler with the cat. The fewer signs of prey instinct or aggression from your dog, the better the chances of it forming a genial relationship with your cat.
3. Mark their territory
Establish boundaries that should be respected by the two pets. This will prevent a rivalry between the two regarding coveted physical spaces. Marking boundaries will make your dog understand which parts of the house are off-limits, which will give your cat its personal space.
Female cats are protective of their young, so having a safe space for a litter of kittens is important if your cat is pregnant.
4. Familiarize your cat with the dog’s scent
Allow your cat to get used to the dog’s smell before introducing them face to face.Cats identify people and animals through scent, so the more time your dog spends with the cat, the more familiar it becomes with the dog. Keep your cat in a room with all its necessary comforts, then start feeding your dog on the other side of the cat’s door. This will allow the smells and sounds to permeate without confrontation. This will also help the dog associate the smell of the cat with food.
Let your cat smell the dog’s bowl, beddings, and toys. Keeping the cat confined until it gets used to the dog’s presence will keep it from running away. As your pets get closer, make sure to leash the dog in case it needs to be restrained.
5. Get them separate feeding bowls and toys
Feeding the cat and dog separately will stop either pet from eating the other’s food. Get them used to only eating from their own bowls. Dogs are possessive, so avoid making them share toys with cats. Cats will see the dog as competition regarding the ownership of the toys. Correct the possessive trait in your dog by training it to never assume the ownership of a toy unless told to do so
6. Raise them together
If you get both pets at a young age, let them grow together. This will lessen the hostility between them because there are no territories to defend or routines to be disrupted. Supervise their interactions until they are completely comfortable with each other. Raising them together will teach them to love and protect each other.
7. Spend quality bonding time with your pets
Bond with your pets by spending an equal amount of time with both of them. One reason your cat may have for hating your dog is if it notices that you are spending more time with it. Cats can become jealous easily.
Instruct your family to show the same amount of affection to both animals so one of them does not feel left out. Start this tradition while both animals are still young so they never develop these resentful feelings.
As a pet owner of both a cat and a dog, assert your position as the alpha early on. Learn to control your pets the earliest that you can. It is normal for cats and dogs to squabble once in a while. This does not mean that they hate each other. The important thing is for these squabbles to not become permanent hostility. Dogs are more open to friendship, while cats need time to get accustomed to a dog’s presence. Be patient with your cat through this process. Let your cat get used to the dog’s smell and sounds over a few days before introducing them face to face under your supervision. Once your pets become comfortable with each other, they will be friends in no time.
Image: istockphoto.com / kozorog