Animals Celebrating National Friendship Day
August 05, 2012 at 9:00:48 am | Posted by Jane C. in Cat Behavior, Dog Behavior, Pet Adoption, Pet CareTweet
Are your household pets literally “fighting like cats and dogs?” Does your dog constantly chase your poor cat up a tree? Think it just can’t be any different? Well, in honor of National Friendship Day, we’ve put together a few tips for these situations, and we’ll show you just how possible it is for your furry family members to get along. But first, let’s take a look at some remarkable stories of animals befriending – and in some cases, even adopting – an animal from a completely different species.
Like the time this baby chimp joined a litter of puppies when its mother died.
Or when a tiger adopted these piglets (yes … they’re all wearing striped sweaters).
Or when this injured baby squirrel “Bushytail” was taken in by a family of kittens.
Or the abandoned monkey who fell in love with a pigeon.
Or how about a crow befriending (and even feeding) a cat.
Cute, right? I mean, who doesn’t like to look at adorable pictures of animals? Now, raise your hand if you’re back to thinking the following: “How can these wild animals go against their instincts and befriend another species, when my own furry, domesticated family members can’t even live peacefully under one roof?!”
Here’s the good news: If your household pets don’t get along, you’re not alone – and there is a fix. But while it may be easier to convince two cats to get along, it can take some extra work when it comes to getting your dog and cat to co-exist mutually. However, since it’s National Friendship Day, we thought we’d try to make your life a little bit easier (because that’s what friends do, right?). So, hopefully the following tips will help you out. Because we say: if a tiger and pig can be friends, so can your dog and cat.
Step 1: Prepare in Advance
It’s important to spend some time with each of your pets individually before you bring them all into one room. Make sure your dog has been well-trained to sit and stay while on a leash, and take him out for a long walk to release his energy beforehand, so he’s not overly-stimulated when he meets your cat. Also, give your cat some one-on-one attention before you bring in the dog, so he calms down and is in a fairly relaxed state when you introduce them. You may also want to do a “scent exchange” for a few days prior, and allow them to smell the other’s blanket or toy to get used to their scent.
Step 2: Get Them Acquainted Properly
When you introduce your cat and dog for the first time, make sure they greet each other at eye level. If the cat is up higher than the dog, the cat will assume a position of power and try to torment the dog. If the dog is towering over the cat, the cat will feel threatened and try to escape, or worse, attack and scratch the dog. Restrain the dog on a leash (you can also use a muzzle if that makes you more comfortable), and let the cat approach the dog. Be sure to allow the dog to sniff the cat (the leash/muzzle will help prevent the dog from lunging or biting).
Step 3: Take it Slow
If you see either animal getting nervous or upset, don’t force it. Take them into separate rooms immediately, and try it again at another time. Until they are fully familiar and comfortable with each other, never leave them alone in a room together without supervision. Remember, it may take several tries (and a ton of patience) for them to get used to each other. Unfortunately, sometimes it just doesn’t appear like it’ll happen – in which case, you may want to seek help from a professional behaviorist.
Step 4: Provide an Escape Route
Last but not least, you’ll want to provide your cat with a space where he can “escape” if the dog ever gets overly playful and tries to chase him (ie: a high counter where the dog cannot reach). The litter box should also be somewhere the dog cannot access, so the cat can do his business in peace. And just in case one of them freaks out and runs out of the house, make sure both of their microchips are registered in the Found Animals Microchip Registry. It’s free for life, and it’s the best way to protect your pets in case they ever get lost.
Do you have any other cute stories of animal friendships or helpful tips to share with other pet owners? Leave them in the comments section below.
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