Can your puppy live with cats?
Cats are lovely (not as nice as dogs, admittedly, but they have their place). I’ve had cats for most of my life and for large chunks of that time they have lived perfectly successfully alongside dogs. It can be a problem though, if your dog pesters the cat, or chases it. So how can we manage this?
Why do dogs chase cats?
I don’t believe it takes a rocket scientist to answer this question does it? Cats are small enough to be ‘prey’. But more importantly, they run away! Well, they might turn into a fierce monster first, becoming as giant as a tiger, but ultimately, if they’re given a bit of a nudge, they usually run. Hurray! So much fun to be had!
Some cats are naturally better at ignoring dogs. Most people will have seen a cat confidently stalk through a group of dogs, casually ignoring them.
Can cats and dogs be friends?
I believe cats and dogs can be friends and that it enhances both their lives (and yours) if you can live together nicely. But is might take some work on your part!
I think the starting point is to assume that any animal you introduce to the house will NOT get on with your other animals. They need time to settle into the environment first, before they are introduced to potentially hostile housemates. So I would always start by keeping dogs and cats well away from each other.
A means to escape
Once you do introduce them, make sure the cat can get to a high place, out of the way. Allow them to go there, where they can safely observe the stupid, annoying dog.
As always, be patient! Take your time and don’t rush. I’ve had rescue dogs in the house with cats and they definitely are more of a challenge! You will need to manage them for longer and be more vigilant.
As usual, you will need to reward your dog for the behaviour you want around your cat. Wait until they look away, or sit down, or come to you and then give a positive ‘Yes!’ and a treat. You could try training your cat of course. Good luck with that :p.
NB: If you want a rescue dog, it is extremely unlikely you will be allowed to have one if you have cats. As I’ve said, it is much more difficult to manage an older dog. It can be done though.
Of course if you are out on a walk and your dog sees a cat, it will almost certainly try and chase it, even if it lives with a cat. You’ll just have to keep working on your recall…
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NB: I am not a dog trainer, or a dog behaviourist, just a dog breeder and owner. I can only offer my opinion, based on my experience.