Old sayings have a lot of truth to them, that’s how they get to be old sayings. Take the example of “fighting like cats and dogs”, that saying has it’s origins sometime before 1610 according to the blog Historically Speaking. The reality is that cats and dogs are very different species, and as such, react very differently to each other than they would to other members of their own species.
For example, a dog may bark, chase a cat, or raise it’s paw to play. A cat may see any of these actions as threatening and swat his paw or hiss at the dog. Or, a cat may try to rub a dogs cheeks with her head as a sign of affection, but the dog may take it as intrusive or threatening and lash out.
Cats and dogs can learn to live in harmony, but it takes diligence and thoughtfulness on the owners part. Remembering that we are asking two different species to learn about each other and adapt their natural reactions is important. The safe and proper introduction of cats and dogs is not a fast process. It is one that requires consistency and patience, but it can be done.
During the transition, it is important to keep the cat and dog separated. This ensures a transition with less stress and keeps both pets safe. A couple. of points here that are important
- it is important that both animals be monitored for signs of stress or anxiety
- each “session” should be short (5-10 min) and repeated several times throughout the day
- It is important to allow the cat to decide to approach, run or hide.
- until the final stage, the dog should be kept on a leash and under control
- treats will go a long way in making this a positive experience for both pets.