So you’ve just brought home your bundle of furry feline joy and the first thing he does after investigating his new home is to start scratching the corner of your sofa. This is a common complaint among pet parents and not just for those folks with kittens, full-grown cats can be the culprits, too.
In this article, we are going to cover why cats scratch (there are many reasons) and we will reveal some tips and tricks on how to teach a cat to use a scratching post.
According to VetStreet, a cat will scratch for a number of reasons. These include;
When your cat claws at your furniture it is in part due to its inherent habits; however, it may also be due to the lack of adequate scratch posts, the type of material your cat prefers to scratch on and also the location of your feline’s scratching affections.
For some cats it may be as simple as bringing the scratching post home and placing it in the desired location. But for others, it can be a bit more of a task. For these “reluctant post scratchers” there are some tips and tricks to help them with the process.
If your feline friend is clawing at a particular piece of furniture, try placing the post in front of or next to the object it is scratching. In the wild, cats will use the tree(s) in the area where they spend most of their time, usually close to a napping or resting spot.
One trick some pet parents use to deter their cats from scratching the corner of their furniture is by placing double-sided tape along its surface. Many felines detest the stickiness the tape provides and will leave it alone. Another trick is to place tinfoil along the corner of the furniture or wall as a temporary deterrent.
Since scratch posts come in a variety of textures from corrugated cardboard to wood, sisal and, of course, carpet, it only makes sense that your feline may prefer a different texture to exercise her right to scratch. If your cat is constantly clawing up an object in your home (and ignoring that brand new post) it could because the surface texture isn’t pleasing to her. Try getting an alternative that is as close to what she is scratching as possible.
Another trick I have personally used is to take the carpet off of the lower part of the scratching post (if it’s multileveled) to expose the bare wood. Most cat’s love plain wood as it is like scratching a real tree.
We all know cats love catnip, so to attract your feline to the new scratch post, try sprinkling dry catnip around the base. If you opt for a catnip spray, this can be lightly spritzed around the base and up the post itself.
Even though cats may not be like dogs (out to please their pet parent at every opportunity) this species will still respond to the praise and reward training method. When you see your feline friend doing what you want her to, praise her for her good behavior and give her a small treat. This will go a long way in helping your cat identify the action your desire.
If you have a kitten, then show and tell may be the method you are seeking. This works simply by bringing your kitten to the post and running her front paws down the surface of it. She may struggle, but by doing this a few times, she will get the idea. Another method is to use a string and dangle it in front of the post. Your kitten will automatically reach out for it and will inadvertently be scratching in an attempt to capture her “prey.”
This YouTube video shows this method at work.
Say goodbye to torn up furniture by following these helpful tips and hints. With a little time, patience, praise and practice your cat will be off your good objects and onto her own cat post.
Cats and purring go together like peanut butter and jelly. This unique-to-feline vibration is produced when the animal is content, happy or even when the cat is nervous or in pain. However, even though it is a common behavior, there are some cats that simply don’t purr. If this describes your best furry friend, we have gathered some information that may help you understand this lack-of-purry response.
Before we claw our way into the why-nots, let’s explore why cats purr. According to ‘Your Cat’ this common behavior may be a result of a few reasons;
Cat Purr Fact: Did you know the purr of a cat can reach from 25 to 150 vibrations-per-second?
Some pet parents fear that the lack of purring from their beloved cat may mean that Kitty is unhappy or “hates” them. If a cat dislikes a person he will exhibit actions like running away and hiding, shrinking back from being petted, hissing, growling, swiping with his paws or even biting.
Here are some issues that may be affecting your cat’s motor or lack thereof;
Cat Purr Fact: Did you know science believes the purr is produced by blood flowing through a large vein in the feline’s chest cavity? The purr sound is actually amplified by the air in the windpipe passing through two folded membranes known as ‘false vocal cords.’
If you’ve check your cat over for health or emotional issues without finding any, then you may have to work at getting your furry pal to purr. Here are some ways to get Kitty’s motor running.
If your cat has never purred then you most likely don’t have anything to be concerned over. However, if your cat has purred in the past and then suddenly stopped, check him over for any signs of illness, injury or stress-related issues. If you haven’t been able to locate a clear problem, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your veterinarian.
Cats are typically very clean and meticulous creatures who would rather pee in an area where they can easily cover it up, so if your cat has taken to urinating outside the litter box or on other areas of your home, you will want to discover why.
Read on to explore the possible reasons behind the lack of litter eliminations, how to curb this unwanted behavior and quick tips on cleaning up that nasty pee odour with simple products found in your cupboard.
If your cat is not peeing where you want it to, here are some reasons that may be causing that troublesome behavior.
If your cat has taken to peeing on your couch or your cat is peeing on your bed, there could also be an underlying health issue that is preventing her from making it to the box on time. Possible causes could be an urinary tract infection which makes it difficult for the cat to hold its pee. In addition, if your cat is a senior and is peeing on the couch or bed, then it may be due to old age incontinence, which is a common occurrence in this age group. Take your kitty to the veterinarian so he or she can rule out any underlying health issues.
Has your cat been peeing on the floor for no apparent reason? Then she may be trying to tell you something.
Cats are creatures of habit so if their routine is interrupted by a significant change in their environment, this can throw them into a tailspin and can manifest itself with peeing in other places. For example, is there a new baby in the home, new spouse, death of a loved-one or even the addition of a new pet? These can all cause kitty to become stressed enough to seek out other areas to relieve herself.
If this is the case, try to pay more attention to your cat to help her feel more loved. If there’s a new addition, be sure to praise your cat around the new addition so she doesn’t feel left out or forgotten about. Have the new spouse feed your cat and give her treats to build feel good moments and to help break the tension and stress she may be feeling.
When a cat is declawed it is actually an amputation of the first knuckle. This is a painful operation that may leave your cat with long-term or even a lifetime of sensitivity to harsh textures, the litter can be one of them. If you are wondering about declawing your cat, Dr. Pam Johnson-Bennett gives us the scoop.
Your clothes and other soft textures may not cause your cat as much pain and irritation to her paws, so she will go where she feels the most comfortable.
If we punish our cat because she failed to use the litter box, then we may be sending the wrong message. Our cat thinks we object to its elimination, not the area in which she chose to do so. She will also most likely become fearful of us which is not what any good pet parent wants. Just remember our cats aren’t peeing and pooping outside the box to insight our anger, but rather because she doesn’t feel like she can use the box. Our job as good pet parents is to figure out why.
An intact male cat that has reached sexually maturity (around 6 to 8 months-old) may spray around your house to mark his territory. This is a common behaviour and one that may be rectified by neutering him as soon as possible. However, some older male cats can continue with this behavior even after they’ve been altered. To prevent this from occurring male kittens should be neutered no later than 6 months-of-age.
The best way to combat the smell of cat urine is to locate the mess and thoroughly clean it up. The longer cat pee sits, the stronger the odor becomes, so get on it ASAP.
If your feline friend has eliminated on your carpet, this simple home mixture works wonders.
If you still notice an odor after you’ve finished, repeat the process.
Although, having your cat pee where it shouldn’t can be annoying, it’s not the end of the world. Explore the reasons why Kitty may be upset about using the litter box and move on from there. If nothing seems to be working, consult your veterinarian or animal behaviorist for other possible reasons and solutions.
For anyone that has ever pet parented a feline, they will be the first to tell you what odd behaviors their furry housemate may engage in. Cats live to the “purr of their own drummer” so what may seem odd to one person, may be just typical for a cat person. One habit some people’s cats may exhibit is the hair chew or bite. And not just their own fur, but the hair on their favorite human’s head as well.
Is your feline friend a hair biter? Here are some simple reasons that may be causing that odd “hair raising” action.
If your cat has become anxious or stressed, chewing your hair could be a way for you feline friend to feel reassured of the bond you share, which in turn will help soothe her anxiety. If this action doesn’t bother you and it’s only in moderation, you can sit back and enjoy the affection. If it persists or gets more frequent, look to any situation that may be stressing your cat out like a new addition to the family, a recent move or if you’ve recently lost another pet.
Has your cat’s hair chewing habit become more intense and more frequent? Than he may have become a compulsive chewer. You will know this has happened if you can’t distract the cat with a more tempting offer, so you may have to seek the input of a veterinarian or a pet therapist. This professional can help you identify possible triggers that provokes your cat to hair chew, or if the trigger has now moved into a behavior your cat needs to fulfill. The person should also be able to provide you with ways to help channel your cat’ response in a healthier manner.
One of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats (over active thyroid gland) is the sudden onset of human hair chewing. This disease tends to be more common in older cats around the age of 12 and 13 years-old. If you have a senior cat that is exhibiting this behavior along with sudden weight loss and a voracious appetite, be sure to make an appointment with your veterinarian.
Not all hair biting behavior is based on a negative, sometimes a healthy cat just finds pleasure in the action. A happy kitty will get a rush of those feel-good endorphins and will want to continue to do so. Your cat may also be showering you with affection the same way they show affection for another feline with mutual grooming. If you’ve just bathed or washed your hair, your cat may simply be enjoying the smell and/or taste of your freshly groomed locks.
Did you just get a very young kitten? The hair chewing could be a response from being separated from its mom too early. Many cat behaviorists theorize that a kitten being taken from its mother under eight to ten weeks-old may bite, chew and lick more than a properly weaned kitten. In addition, kittens also tend to explore their new world by taste, just like puppies and children do.
Sometimes the hair biting behavior is breed specific. The Asian breeds of felines – Burmese, Tonkinese and Siamese (to name a few) – love to bite and chew fabric, paper, toys and, yes, even your hair.
If you’ve noticed any other odd behaviors in your cat, or the hair biting has become more frequent and intense then it’s always better to make an appointment with your veterinarian to have your fur baby thoroughly checked over. Whether it turns out to be nothing or something, it’s better to know and follow up (if need be) with your vet’s advice.
If you love cats, but hate that stinky litter box, then you may want to ponder the idea of housebreaking your feline (aka going outside). If left to their own devices, most cats would likely choose the great outdoor potty over the confinement of a litter box. However, there are ways to make the transition from litter box to outdoors simpler.
Follow these seven helpful steps on how to housebreak a cat.
A young kitten may not be able to navigate his way around the great outdoors, so waiting until he is more mature is the best option. Older cats are also more apt to be able to adjust to the change from a litter box to outside eliminating more easily.
In addition let your cat “tell” you when she is ready for doing her routine business outside. This can also be gauged by her usage of the indoor box becoming less and less frequent.
By using the same entrance and exit point to your home, it will reinforce the routine in your cat. It is also important for when you transfer the litter box outdoors.
As the housebreaking training progresses, gradually move the litter box closer and closer to your intended exit and entrance door. It’s important to keep the box clean during this time and to do this when you’re not expecting a lot of traffic in-and-out of your home.
Once you feel your cat is ready, move the litter box outside to a patio or porch area. Be sure to plan this crucial step when the weather is pleasant. Rainy, thunderstorms or heavy snowfall may impede your cat’s enthusiasm for being outdoors. Once the litter box is outside, show him where it is a few times, so he can learn.
When you start to notice that your cat is using his outside commode less, it’s a good time to remove the litter box altogether. This may take a week or more, depending on the individual cat. Remove the box when the cat is not looking to help reinforce the housebreaking.
If your cat is having trouble grasping the outdoor concept, sprinkle some of his cat litter in the acceptable “toilet” areas of your yard. Most cats will choose flowerbeds or other soft ground to relieve themselves in so use this trick to encourage that natural instinct.
Until your cat is completely housebroken, you may want to keep her in a confined area like a bathroom or laundry room while you are away for short periods-of-time. Cats are very clean animals and are less likely to soil in a small area. However, as soon as you get home be sure to let kitty out to do her business.
Once your cat is completely housebroken you can say goodbye to the stoop-n-scoop. However, even though your cat goes outside to eliminate, still be sure to take precautions to protect your pet outdoors. This includes having the proper vaccinations, being spayed or neutered and preventing your pet from getting fleas. A healthy cat is a happy cat.
Cats are a lot like potato chips...you can't have just one. The trouble with this notion is, unlike their canine counterparts, cats aren't always too quick to accept another cat "invading" their home turf.
However, don't let that specific trait of the feline nature discourage you from adding another cat to your family. Many pet parents have more than one feline friend, you just have to know how to make the proper introductions. Read on to find some helpful steps, tips and tricks to introducing your cat to a new cat.
There are two camps of thought when it comes to the social and behavioral attitudes of our domesticated felines. Some experts believe cats are meant to live a solitary existence, which does occur with most of the larger wild cats, while others believe that cats are indeed social creatures because even feral cat populations live together in large colonies.
So which is it?
Unfortunately, there is no inclusive answer to this question. Yes, some larger species of cats, like lions, do live in social prides and male cheetahs form a coalition with one another. However, tigers, leopards and cougars are more solitary and usually only seek out another of their species for mating purposes.
Domesticated felines, on the other paw, can be social or reclusive, it all depends on the individual cat's personality, how it was raised and how much "socialization" it's had with other cats. Kittens for the most part are extremely social. They will run, play and groom their littermates without regard or any social misgivings to the situation. It's when these kittens begin to grow up and are separated from their siblings that their "antisocial" behavior may take place.
If you truly want to have two cats in your household, the easiest and usually most successful way to do so is adopt two from the same litter, or get two kittens at the same time.
If this proverbial ship has already sailed, don't lose hope, you can still introduce your cat to a new cat.
Let's face it, things would be a whole lot easier if we could plan a "play date" with our resident cat and a potential newcoming. But unfortunately, this simply wouldn't work because cats will usually be "on guard" and very weary of a cat they don't know. However, even with this solution out-of-the-picture, there are some things to consider before you choose another cat for your resident cat.
According to The Conscious Cat keep these following tips in mind when searching for the purrfect companion for your cat.
Personality. Know the personality of your resident cat. Ask yourself is she laidback, rambunctious, quiet or timid? Having this insight will help you plan what personality you will want to seek out in a new companion - two quiet cats may get along better than one being outgoing and the other being timid and visa versa (an active cat may love the benefit of having an active playmate).
History of the Cats. Has the new cat come from a rescue situation and if so what did it's past entail? Some rescue cats may have been abused or neglected, which will greatly affect their overall mindset. Cats that have a history of being picked on by another feline, may also lash out due to fear and mistrust, even if your resident cat has never acted aggressively towards him or her. When adopting try to get as much background information on the feline as the organization has to offer and act accordingly.
Age. As we mentioned earlier, kittens are usually more accepting of one-another than those that are older. In addition, bringing a rambunctious kitten into a home with an aging senior will most likely upset your resident cat. When looking to add another cat, try to get them about the same age.
Size Does Matter. If your resident cat is more dominate in personality, than your wisest choice for a happy household would be to choose a feline that is the same size or slightly smaller. Too big and your resident cat may feel threatened and too small, he may feel the need to show the newcomer who's "boss."
Male or female. There is a theory that two male neutered cats will get along better than two female spayed cats. However, there are many pet parents (including myself) that will disagree with this statement. There really is no guarantee that two males, two females or one of each will get along without incident. For this reason, look to the above points to help better your chances of finding a good match for your resident cat.
Now that we've covered the pre-steps to introducing your cat to a new cat, let's claw our way into the main steps you will want to take for a smooth transition of both your new cat and your resident fur baby.
Plopping the new cat in the living room and letting "the fur fall where it may" is never a good approach to introducing two feline strangers.
Before you bring home your new cat, have a separate room set up for her. This will include a litter box, a soft bed, toys, scratch post, safe hiding places and food and water. Having a safe-zone for your new cat will ease her into the situation and will also allow your resident fur baby to feel less threatened.
According to Pamela Johnson-Bennett of Cat Behavior Associates, even with your new cat in temporary seclusion, it and your resident feline should still be able to hear and smell each other under the door.
After 2 or 3 days, when the cats are each aware of the other's existence, you can switch them up (allow the new cat out, while your resident feline is in the seclusion room). This not only gives your new cat a chance to investigate its new home, but allows your other cat to smell the newbies scent in a safe and unthreatening manner.
● Feeding the two cats meals or treats by the same door or blockade can create a sense of wellbeing amongst the two.
● Use a clean sock and rub it alongside the new cat's face. This capture's his pheromones. Now place the sock where your resident cat can investigate it at his own pace.
● Play with each cat in front of the door. Once again this creates feel-good moments to help both cats associate each other with a pleasant experience.
If after a week your cats are not continuing to hiss or growl at each other through the closed door, you can move on to step two; the visual introduction.
Many pet parents will either use a screen door on the barred room or use a high baby gate.
Note: If you only have access to a low baby gate, remember cats can jump over low-lying barriers, so you will still need to use a thick piece of cardboard or other material to block the rest of the entrance way.
Continue to feed and play with each cat by the barrier to create good-mood feelings and opportunities. However, if one cat is reluctant to eat in viewing of the other, move the dish back to a comfortable location. This is all about building a safe bond and trust, so you won't want to force either cat into an uncomfortable situation. If all is progressing smoothly, without hissing or growling, move on to step three.
Extra Tip: It's helpful to have another person at-the-ready when you first allow your cats to see each other for the first time. This extra pair of hands can help with one cat, while you tend to the other, .just in case of an incident.
The face-to-face is the last step in this process. How quickly you get to this step depends on the individual felines and how they have been able to cope up to this point. Don't worry if it's not going as quickly as you thought it should. Like people, each cat will move at its own pace and comfort-level.
For the face-to-face, you will want to keep a close eye on the two cats, especially in the very beginning. You can simply open the gate and allow each cat to explore. Their reactions could be to ignore each other, or to do some hissing and swatting. Be sure to gentle reassure both cats, while still allowing them to figure things out. Of course, if one cat is being aggressive, gentle pick up the other cat and return it to the solitary room. If all is going well, still keep a watch on the two, but allow them to move about freely. You should be able to gauge the mood of both cats to determine if there is going to be a problem before it escalates out of control.
Extra Trick: Giving the cats a tasty snack when face-to-face or freely in each other's space, is still a great way to break the tension and create another feel-good moment.
Most cats will learn to live with, if not truly enjoy, the companionship of another cat. However, if you have given the two an adequate amount of time (two weeks) to properly get to know each other by following these steps and one or both of the cats are still being severely aggressive, you may have to seek out a professional trainer.
For more information on how to introduce cats see this great guide from the catsite.com.
Unlike a dog that will show his happiness by wagging his tail or bouncing around, cats are more subtle in their approach to happiness...or any other emotion, really.
Most cats go through life with dignity and reserve, so if you want to know if he is happy, then you're going to have to know what to look for when asking yourself "is my cat happy?"
We've scratched through the mounds of information from pet experts to put together a list of "happy" signs your cat is probably exhibiting on a daily basis.
When you come home from a long day away and your cat greets you at the door with its tail straight up in the air, this means "hey! I'm happy to see you." The straight tail may also have a crook at the end or even quivering (the ultimate happy). She may even have her eyes slightly closed and rub gently up against you...all good signs that your cat is happy.
While not all cats are as verbal as the beloved Siamese, our felines are still articulating their happiness through everyday sounds. According to Modern Cat, our feline friends may make utterances of chirps, trills and chirrups as a sign of excitement and happiness. Purrs that are accompanied by deep kneading or relaxed behavior is also another good sign that your cat is happy.
We as pet parents may take for granted the postures our cats take when they are resting or sleeping as just "normal." But a relaxed cat can actually say a lot about its mood.
A cat resting with its paws tucked under its chest, ears forward and eyes half-mast is a happy and content kitty. Half-closed eyes or the slow blink in your direction is also a sign of contentment and well-being.
Have you caught your cat lying on its back with all four paws in the air? Be honored as this feline if feelin' fine and is extremely happy and relaxed.
Cats like to "cuddle" and will show it in different ways. A kneading cat is resorting back to the contentment and happiness it felt as a kitten while kneading its mom to produce milk flow.
A cat-cuddle can also include just sitting on your lap, purring while you gently stroke her fur. The ultimate cat-love demonstration is a cat that will actually put its paws around your neck. This kitty-hug is wonderful to experience, although it can be quite rare.
A well-kept cat is a happy cat. The feline species will groom themselves, and other cats in the household, when they are feeling good and are trusting of their companions. Some cats will even go as far as grooming their pet parent's hair. This is one happy cat!
Like people, cats that are confident are usually very happy. Your cat may show his happy-confidence by "helping" you with your daily chores or by just sitting high up on a scratch post in the supervisory position. Either way, your cat showing an interest in his environment is happy and content.
As the old adage goes...curiosity killed the cat. For anyone that have ever pet parented a cat, they know this statement is more than true. Happy cats will usually investigate anything and everything in their household, especially if it's new to them. Although this behavior can become a bit annoying to us, we can take comfort in the fact that this means we have a happy cat...just remember that after he breaks that new centerpiece you've just brought home.
It's easy to tell by play-mode when a cat is happy. Kittens are non-stop bundles of playful-happy, but as they mature the amount of time spent playing often diminishes. However, even an older cat will bat around a toy, take a swat at something dangling or even just zoom around the room with random spurts of energy. All this indicates that your cat is happy, regardless of his age.
None of us want our felines to be sad. If your cat isn't exhibiting any of these happy-cat behaviors, then you may want to visit your veterinarian to make sure your kitty isn't feeling ill. If all checks out health-wise, you may need to spend more time engaging with your feline friend. Try a new toy, a gentle grooming session, or some yummy treats. Encouraging your cat to be happy will allow you peace-of-mind and give your cat the stimulation he or she desires and needs to stay healthy.
We as humans have probably all felt a little sad or down at times, maybe even depressed. But according to studies done by animal behaviorists in the 1990s even cats can feel the affects of depression, too.
Veterinary behaviorist Katherine Houpt, director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cornell University defines cat depression as a change in the cat's normal behavior and vocalizations, which is usually accompanied by a loss of appetite. This can be brought on by a loss of a pet companion or human, moving to a new home or a major change in the cat's daily schedule.
To answer the question of "is my cat depressed," we've compiled a list of symptoms to check for in your feline friend.
On average a normal healthy cat can "sleep" anywhere from 16 to 20 hours each day. This sounds like a lot, but much of this sleepy time is spent cat-napping or sleeping with one eye open. These types of sleeps are generally quick and easy to get the cat up-and-moving from. However, if your cat sleeps deeply, hides away to sleep or indulges in this activity more than usually, he may be suffering from depression.
Cats that are normally friendly and outgoing that start to hide away under beds, cower in corners or avoid interaction with the family may be suffering from depression. In addition, those cats that suddenly become aggressive and are exhibiting uncharacteristic biting, hissing or scratching may also be indicating signs of depression.
Another personality change to look for is excessive vocalizations. This can occur when a cat has lost a close companion (either human or furry). The vocalizations are usually accompanied by the cat wandering around the home in attempt to locate its lost buddy.
Has your cat stopped using the litter box properly? Urinating or defecating outside the box, whether in another area of the home or just outside the litter box, and/or spraying the furniture could all be signs of depression in cats.
Cats are very routine-oriented. A good sign that your cat may be depressed is a disinterest in these daily routines. This can include eating its meals, treats, grooming itself, playtime or any other daily activity your cat once found pleasure in doing.
If your cat is exhibiting any of the above symptoms for longer than a few days, then it's better to err on the side of caution and take your cat in for a complete check up. If your vet determines there is no physical problems, then you will want to consider the possibility that your cat is suffering from depression.
It's important not to let depression go on for too long as it can weaken the immune system which in turn can lead to more serious health issues down the road.
Some of the ways to help your kitty get past this emotional state is to spend more time with her. Gentle grooming, soothing words and extra love can all work wonders on the feline psyche. If your cat has lost a beloved furry companion, then you may want to consider the idea of bringing another pet into the home. Of course, there most likely won't be an instant bond (see our article on introducing cats) but over time, your cat may just appreciate having another furry buddy around. An easier option is to try to entertain you cat by getting him more interesting stuff to do.
Knowing your cat's normal behavior and realizing quickly when he goes off those everyday activities is the best way to combat depression. We as pet parents are the only source our cats have to help them through these difficult emotions, so let's be proactive and give them the time, love and attention they deserve.
It's a myth that dogs and cats are mortal enemies. This terrible injustice of the truth may have been perpetuated by the cartoon industry or pet owners of yesteryear that didn't perhaps have the time or inclination to help the two species become the best of furry pals.
Today, more and more pet parents are enjoying the company of both a dog and a cat under the same roof. Think it's impossible or just for a few folks who "lucked out?" Canines and felines can be friends, it just takes the right introductions, a lot of patience and some know-how.
Whether you are introducing a dog to a cat or visa-versa, considering each animal's individual personality is the first place to start. For example if you have a laid-back feline, you will not want to bring in a high energy dog such as a Border Collie. In addition, there are certain breeds of dogs that are notorious for chasing cats ie the Jack Russell Terrier. Now, this isn't to say that these breeds can't learn to live with a cat, but it's definitely something to consider before you adopt.
Experts also recommend bringing in a pet that already has experience with the opposite species. Although, the cat or dog won't be familiar with your current companion, the fact that it has once met or even lived with the species is a giant leap in the right direction of co-compatiblity.
The introduction process from one species to another, regardless of which animal is the resident pet, is going to take time and patience. Here are some important steps to follow when making the crucial initial introduction.
Tip: It is never a good idea to bring a dog or a cat into an animal shelter to see how they will react. This location is extremely stressful on an animal and you may not get a true read on the situation. In addition, as well as these places are kept, disease can still occur where animals are kept in close quarters.
Step 1 - Separate Rooms Please
After you have chosen an appropriate cat or dog for your resident pet, you will want to start off by keeping them in separate rooms. Pick an area in your home where you can set up a litter box, food and water for your new cat. If you are bringing a new canine companion home, you will want to have a room or an area appropriate for the dog with food, water, toys and a blanket or pet bed.
Both the pets will know the other is there by their scents. Over the span of a few days, each animal should be given their turn investigating the home without the presence of the other pet. Give them around 35 to 45 minutes to thoroughly investigate where the other animal has been. This gives your new pet the opportunity to scent the other animal in a safe and relaxed manner.
Tip: If you have brought in a new cat, have someone take your pooch for a walk while the cat is allowed to roam free. Also be aware that some dogs like to eat cat feces, so keep an eye out when your pooch is around the litter box until you know if you have a "fecal-muncher" on your hands.
If your dog obsessively digs or barks at the barrier door, gently divert his attention with a treat or a toy. The key here is to get your dog used to the idea of the new cat, without viewing it has a threat or as an interloper. If this behavior goes on for more than a few days, you may have to seek professional training for your canine companion.
Once your dog is calm and not obsessed with his new house-mate and the cat is relaxed (eating, using the litter box and not constantly hiding) proceed to the next step.
Tip: Feeding both animals at the same time on their own side of the barrier or door is also a good way to help the two associate each other in a positive manner.
Step 2 - Leashes and Crates Only...For Now
For this next step, you will need to keep your dog on a short leash and perhaps your cat in a crate (if she is highly skittish) if not, give your cat the freedom to walk around. Allow both animals to be in the same room at the same time, making sure your dog is secured on a leash. Be ready with plenty of praise and rewards for good behavior.
Note: Your cat's initial reaction may be to hiss and/or run. This is perfectly normal. However, if there is any serious aggression on the cat or dog's part, go back to step one and give them more time in their safe room or area.
Gradually give your dog more room (as long as he's not lunging or trying to bolt after the cat). If he does exhibit this inappropriate reaction, correct him by shortening his lead and giving him the "sit" or "leave it" commands. Reward for a job well done. However, you may have to cut the visit short if Fido can't be calmed down and try again later.
This type of introduction needs to go on as long as the cat and dog are still nervous around each other or are still showing aggression or over-exuberant behavior.
When can you move forward? When both animals are relaxed, are eating and are fine in each other's presence. Don't move forward until both pets have shown good behavior in each other's company for several consecutive days.
Tip: When no one is home, the cat and dog should be secured away from each other to keep them safe.
Step 3 - Unsupervised Interactions
For this final step, you will still want to keep your dog on a leash (at least initially). Proceed with caution and quickness by grabbing the leash and restraining his actions if your dog decides to immediately go after your cat
Don't be worried if your cat's initial reaction is to swat your dog on the nose, even if Fido is behaving. Cat's show their dominance with this reaction and sometimes this is all it takes for your canine to have "respect" for your cat.
As the interaction goes on, be sure to remain calm and speak in soft tones, using both the pet's names to help diffuse any situation that may arise. Remember to give out lots of praise and treats for good behaviour.
This step may take some time to get to (month or more) depending on the individual animals.
Tip: Only move to this final phase when you are positive your furry companions are relaxed in each others company; there's no hissing, growling, chasing, biting etc. Even so, be sure to keep an eye on them and don't leave the two unsupervised until you are absolutely positive they are fast friends.
Extra Tips and Hints
Here are some additional tips and hints that will help the process of cats and dogs becoming future bff's.
● Always use positive reinforcement when it comes to teaching your dog to behave around a cat.
● It is helpful to have your dog know the basic commands of "sit, stay, come and release/drop."
● Never let your dog and cat eat each other's food. Cat food is high in fat and will create weight gain in your dog. Cats cannot get their full nutritional value in dog food as it lacks taurine which is paramount for a cat's eye and tooth health..
● Be more aware when bringing a kitten into a home with a large or energetic canine. Even a well-intentioned pooch can seriously injure a kitten in play, so be sure to follow the introduction steps or adopt an older feline.
● Even after the two pets are getting along, always be sure there is a safe place in every room where your cat can retreat to. Whether this is a higher-up ledge, scratch post or even under a low bed, your cat needs a secure location in case Fido is getting too rambunctious.
● Swapping their bedding is a good way to allow both your pets the freedom to get to know the other's scent in a safe manner.
Even if you've followed these steps to the letter, some dogs and cats may never get along. Unfortunately, if you find yourself in this situation, you may have to rehome or return the new dog or cat. It's simply not fair to ask or expect the animals to get along and it is extremely stressful on them both.
When you decide to rehome, be sure to let potential pet parents know that the animal does not do well with the other species. In addition, never give an animal away for free unless you know the person taking the dog or cat. Oftentimes, unscrupulous people will look for free pets to sell to research facilities or use them for breeding purposes only.
The idea that cats don't show affection is simply not true. Sure, they may not always exhibit their feelings in the all-out exuberance of their canine counterparts, but it's there; you just have to pay attention. Let's take a journey through all the ways your feline friend is saying "I love you."
Have you ever noticed when your cat is relaxed that she may look at you with half-closed eyes followed by a slow blink? As weird as this may sound, this is actually one way a cat will communicate love, trust and affection to their pet parent. Experts call these "cat kisses" and the best part is, you can reciprocate the action. This give-and-take eye-affections not only conveys your feelings towards your cat, but it helps build a stronger bond between you and your best furry pal.
Cats may not wag their tails in happiness and devotion, but they certainly do tell a tale of affection. Some love-signals can be as simple as your kitty wrapping her tail around your leg or placing it on your body as she lies next to you. Another tell-tail sign is the "happy tail dance." This is when her tail is held in an upright position and slightly fluffed out at the base, with a cane-like crook at the end. You may even see her tail quiver slightly; this is super-love!
You may have experienced the endearing cheek rub from your cat. This affectionate brush along your face is a not only a wonderful show of love on your cat's behalf, but it is conveying a strong message that you are its possession. According to Cat Behavior Associates, all felines have scent glands in their faces that release pheromones. Your cat uses its scent glands to mark you as a trusted and beloved member of its family.
I have a cat that loves to bunt my head with his, the only problem is he is very strong and this action usually causes me pain...sometimes love hurts. However, despite my aching noggin (and shins) I do appreciate the sentiment behind the bunt. Once again this action can be attributed back to those scent glands and your kitty's need to claim ownership of you.
Any devoted pet parent can usually distinguish the meaning behind the certain vocalizations their cat emits (mine has a very specific "FEED ME" voice). But these chirps, chirrs, mews, soft meows and purrs are all good indications that your cat feels happy, safe, relaxed and very much in love with you. When accompanied by the happy tail dance or kitty kisses, you can be sure you are number one on Kitty's love-list.
If you have more than one cat in your family, then you most likely have noticed them grooming each other. This is a time of bonding and shared enjoyment between two or more cats. However, this behavior can also be transferred to you. When your cat licks your hair or face, it is indeed showing trust and love. Unfortunately, they most often will wait for you to reciprocate the sentiment.
Felines are special pets that have won the hearts of millions of pet parents around the world. We love their subtle ways of showing affection even though it may not be as often as we'd like. However, we cat-folks always deem ourselves truly blessed when our beloved feline gives us a soft face rub, a warm wrapping of the tail and, yes, even an affectionate, albeit painful head bunt. These actions are what stands the cat purrfectly apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.