Can cats and dogs live together in harmony? Yes. If you don’t want your pets to live up to the stereotypical cat and dog relationship, try these tips for peaceful co-existence. But it’s a known fact that this is hugely contingent on the various dog breeds.

If you have the option, establish the cat in the household first. It’s a lot easier for an adult cat to tolerate (and dominate!) a little puppy than bringing a full-sized dog into a cat household (although that’s possible, just not ideal). A full-grown cat can tell the pup what’s what and the dog will remember who’s got the upper paw, even as he grows to far exceed the cat in size.

Introducing a kitten to a full-sized dog can endanger the kitten if you don’t carefully watch them together. Even very gentle dogs can hurt kittens by playing too rough.

Irrespective of who’s first in the household, make introductions gradually. Shoving a newbie in the face of the original pet can cause fear and hostility.

If possible, allow each animal to smell towels with the other’s scent on them before a face-to-face meeting. Make sure to have the best dog chews for bad breath as cats are susceptible when it comes to smell. Keep the newcomer in a room closed off from the rest of the house for a day or two, preferably a day you’re home. Then, gradually allow the new pet to roam farther in the house.

Once the pets meet, watch from a distance. Don’t scold for any hissing or growling. Remove the smaller pet if he’s in any real danger and try again later.

Make sure that each pet has a quiet place for sleeping where he can get away from the other. Keep their dishes separate and make sure the dog can’t get to the cat’s litter. It’s great if you have a self-cleaning litter box for your cat as it saves you a lot of trouble and helps to keep your house clean. You also can get some insight from these reviews which prove to be helpful.

Leaving new pals home alone together can cause problems. Enlist the help of a pet sitter if you’re unable to check in on them during your workday. A well-exercised pet is a happy, content pet and more likely to play well with others.

Try to give individual attention to each pet to curb “sibling rivalry” between them. Accent each interaction with treats and petting to build a positive association.

by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant