In 2019, cats and dogs living together isn't taboo like it used to be. In old cartoons, they were each other's worst enemy, but nowadays they can be the best of friends. Like brother and sister, pet siblings may have days when they're the best of friends, and other days when they seem like rivals.
In viral videos, you may've seen even more odd pet friends like cats and ducks, cats and horses, dogs and cheetahs – the YouTube rabbit hole has no end. While in some cases, pets of different species become the closest of friends, not all pet couples are so equally matched.
What do you do if your feline friend sees your other precious pets as prey (or competition for attention) rather than siblings? What if your dog is bothering your cat?
Here are a few solutions, including kitty-proof enclosures for your small critters and getting your little ones involved.
Playing it Safe With Cats & Dogs Living Together
It's normal to have cats and dogs living together harmoniously. If introduced at an early age, dogs and cats tend to get along with one another perfectly. If a new dog is introduced to your cat, however, she may take a while to warm up to him.
According to a study reported by The Guardian, "After pooling information provided by homeowners, the researchers found that the best predictor for a happy cat-dog relationship was the cat’s age when it began living with the dog." The feline-canine connection appears strongest when the cat is younger – ideally under a year old.
If you're introducing your cat to a new dog or a new dog to your cat, it's best that you take things slowly. They don't have to be best friends right off the bat, but they do have to get to know each other and their environment, and find their comfort zone.
If you have more than one dog living with your cat, make sure to keep your eye out for any predatory behavior. According to Vetstreet, there is an "increased chance of multiple canines chasing, seriously injuring or killing the cat" when two or more dogs are living in the same household.
While a multi-pet household is not necessarily out of reach, it is best to play it safe and plan for the cats and dogs living together to take time to settle in.
Cats & Other Animals Living Together
It's quite common to see cats and dogs living together, but if you have other types of pets, you should take precautionary measures to keep your animals safe.
Cats are instinctual hunters and it can be a challenge for your super sweet fur baby to quiet the roaring beast inside when little critters are nearby.
In the wild, cat prey can include fish, small rodents, lizards, and birds. So if you have small pets like guinea pigs, geckos, or parakeets, your feline's natural instinct may tell her that your family pet is her dinner.
What You Can Do to Keep the Peace
While YouTube is full of odd pet couples like cats and ducks, not all pets get along so well. Prioritize the safety of all your pets. Make sure smaller pets have a sturdy enclosure and keep an eye on Fluffy.
Never Leave Your Cat Alone With Small Pets
Always supervise your cats when they have access to a small pets' area. If you keep your bird or reptile cage in a bedroom, keep the bedroom door closed when you're unable to supervise.
When you have to step out for a few hours, make sure your feline friend has minimal access to the cage by keeping her in a separate space.
Invest in a Sturdy Enclosure
If you've ever set a glass of water at the edge of your table, you may have noticed your cat's predilection to knock it off the edge. One swipe of her furry little paw will clear up her catwalk, whether or not you were finished with your beverage.
Cats have the quirkiest habit of pushing things off of table and counter edges, so if you have a lightweight fish bowl or plastic critter enclosure, she may feel the urge to see it tumble down to the ground.
Invest in a heavy, sturdy fish tank or critter enclosure to prevent your cat from harming (or worse) the little one.
Make it a Family Effort
Kids are great guardians of little critters. Small children tend to want to care for small things and they're eager to have responsibilities, especially as "helpers."
Teach your kiddos that cats can't play with small pets. If you haven't warned your tots about the dangers of combining cats and small animals, they may try and orchestrate an unsafe playdate.
Instead, charge your children with protecting the small pet from Fluffy. You can even take this opportunity to teach your little ones about a few fun facts about cats, like their relationship to big cat ancestors.
Get everyone on board with your friendly animal household. Share this article with your roommate, family member, or that friend who seems to be building a zoo in his apartment.