Pet Parenting: Can cats and dogs make friends?

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It’s time for the next installment of Pet Parenting. We’re taking our questions (and yours!) to local pet behavior counselor, Denise Holmes, who owns a local private counseling business Ain’t Misbehavin’. She’s been training animals for 25 years and loves pets of all shapes, colors and sizes.

Here’s the latest question:

Q: “We’ve had a dog for the past three years and are considering adopting a new kitten. How can I make sure these two will get along?”

A: Have you witnessed your dog’s behavior towards cats?  That is the first thing you should do.  If your dog HATES cats or thinks they might taste like chicken, you may be making a mistake.  However, if he seems tolerate or like he couldn’t care less, then go to the shelter and pick out a kitten.

rosco22-pet-parenting.jpgAsk if any of the cats are dog friendly; some are and some are not.  Once you’ve selected the cat you think you want, bring the cat and your dog into a visitation room and see how it goes.  Even if the kitten is ‘dog friendly,’ she may make a fuss.  Remember you are strangers to her and don’t worry too much about it.  As long as they don’t try to eat each other, you are probably okay.

Once home, I’d make sure your kitten has a place such as a cat tree (anchored to the floor) to get away from the dog when need be.  I’d also make sure your dog knows a solid ‘leave-it’ command, so you can intervene when necessary; though, truthfully, I’d worry more about the dog than the new kitten.  Cats have claws and friendly Fidos are innately naive about that. She is very likely to be his best teacher.

Isn’t this St. Bernard handsome? Rosco belongs to Mindy Worthington, who went to Denise for help with training her good boy. Send us your best pet pics and they might be featured in the next Pet Parenting!

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