Everything's better in pairs, including pets! Cats and dogs can enjoy the presence of a four-legged companion, but it takes patience and planning for everyone to adjust.
At Springs, our generous pet policy allows for two dogs, two cats or a mixed set. Here are some expert tips to help your "roommates" become accustomed to one another.
According to Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, your current dog should first meet the new dog on neutral ground.
- Take your new dog to a park or other convenient spot which is unfamiliar to your current dog.
- Arrange for a friend or family member who's known to your current dog to bring him along to the designated area.
- With both dogs on a leash, begin walking with you and your current dog in the lead, followed by the friend and your new dog.
- After several minutes, drop back and let your current dog sniff the new dog from behind. Take care to avoid a face-to-face meeting at this point.
- Resume walking with your current dog once again in the lead, and let the new dog get his scent.
- Gradually bring the two dogs to a point where they're walking side-by-side, with you and your friend in the middle. When they can walk together calmly, it's time to take them home.
Cats tend to be less social than dogs, so pairing them up requires a different strategy.
- For the first week, keep the cats separated. The new cat should stay in one room with her own food, water and litter box.
- On the eighth day, place the two food dishes on either side of the door to the new cat's room so the cats will learn to associate each other's scent with a pleasant activity. Move the bowls closer with each feeding, reaching a point where you can briefly crack the door open so the cats can see each other while they eat.
- When the new cat appears to be comfortable, place the current cat in a closed room and let your new cat explore the apartment.
- Now it's time to let the two pets meet. Some hissing and wariness is normal, but if their behavior is too aggressive, repeat the initial process.
A Dog and a Cat
It takes some work, but yes, cats and dogs can live in harmony.
- If possible, start with a kitten and a puppy. They'll be more likely to form a bond when they grow up together.
- Let the animals get used to each other at their own pace and pay equal attention to both.
- During the first days, keep your dog on a leash so you can control him if he becomes too aggressive with the cat.
- Use a covered litter box or place it in a spot where it's inaccessible to the dog.