Pet owners are among a select group of humans that think—no, believe—they know exactly what their pets are thinking at any given moment. Of course, they convey personal preferences through tell-tale behaviors, and use body language to show emotions. 

When it comes to interspecies friendships, it’s far less obvious. When pets get along, life at home is harmonious. It’s stressful when there is acrimony between cats and dogs, but there are ways you can help.

Best Friends Forever

Some pets are absolutely devoted to one another. They hardly ever bicker or compete for human attention. They snuggle, play, and generally co-exist in the most positive, happy-go-lucky way. These pets get along, of course, but it’s more than that—they are best friends for life.

I’m Okay, You’re Somewhat Okay

Another sign that your pets get along is that they simply don’t squabble with each other. They may not rely on each other for fun or comfort, but they exercise extreme tolerance and acceptance. 

Now What?

Pet owners with multiple pets reach a point of frustration and exhaustion when it comes to dealing with the tensions between the species. There are certain strategies that, once in place, can go a long way toward helping everyone remain calm.

The Matter of Space

Cats are highly territorial. Not that dogs aren’t attached to their surroundings, but they do tend to mistake the space bubbles of others as their own. 

Help your dog understand that your cat has their own areas, such as a cat tree, window perch, crate, catio, etc. When they have a grasp on even basic commands, you can keep them under your control. This not only re-established your own place on the hierarchy, but keeps all of your pets safe from unnecessary stress or injury. 

Separation Skills

Helping your pets get along may be as easy as enforcing strict rules about their stuff. Never allow your dog to eat your cat’s food, lick their bowls, or steal their water. A cavalier attitude about this may result in your dog thinking that they have unlimited access to your cat’s property, including their litter box or bed. 

Both Ways

This method should also be applied to your cat, although it’s not common at all for cats to eat dog food, feces, or usurp the dog’s bed. The point is, everyone in the house experiences the same benefits associated with these rules, and abides by them.

Does Age Matter?

Pets of all ages can learn new things, but younger animals are definitely more open to new experiences. This receptivity applies to both cats and dogs, so if it’s possible to adopt young animals at or near the same time, you may have instant and long-lasting success.

Pets Get Along

If your pets get along you’re not only lucky but probably very happy indeed. However, pet owners can rest assured that proper training, positive reinforcement and patience (lots and lots of it) can make all the difference to interspecies friendships.

If you have further questions about animal behavior or ways to cope with the dynamics in a multi-pet household, we’ve got you covered at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates.