Being the owner of both a cat and a dog, I can say there are times when both of my furry friends need time away from one another.

My cat likes to think he is the dominant one in the relationship, whereas my dog can be a bit timid around the cat and well… kind of submissive. While at the best of times, they are buddies. There are many times that my furry devilish feline friend loves to school the pup. Truth be told the cat just doesn’t like being stalked by the dog. Meanwhile our dog just thinks of her stalking as a form of curiosity.

Just look at those eyes… So full of wonder!

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Did you know that the term fighting like cats and dogs can be taken quite literally when you have several four-legged friends at home? I sure did!

While some people identify themselves as a cat or dog person, at Iams, we are both cat and dog people. We understand the importance of maintaining relationships between furry friends and want to provide pet owners alike with resources to help cats and dogs get along. With these five tips, you can kiss the term cats rule and dogs drool goodbye.

1. Looking to play matchmaker?

If you have a cat and are planning to adopt a dog, try to find a breed with a known history of being accepting of cats. Traditionally, herding dogs, terriers, sight hounds and huskies get along best with cats, so keep an open mind and work together with your local shelter, pet store or independent breeder to find the perfect fit.

If you have a dog and are planning to adopt a cat, help teach your dog to behave appropriately around cats ahead of time. If your dog does not respond well to sit, down, stay or come, work on improving those actions to avoid havoc down the road.

2. Make the introductions

When bringing a new pet into the home, animals need time to get to know each other. They are more likely to fight or be unhappy if you try to force them together, so be sure to make proper introductions. Pick a spacious room, have a helper with you and keep tasty treats on-hand to reward pets for good behaviour. If your pets tend to be on the feisty side, make sure your cat’s claws are trimmed and dog’s are kept on a tight leash. Depending on your pet’s prior experiences, genetics and personalities, the introduction may take a few days to a few weeks – so be patient and ensure you have a safe place for your new pet where they can go and take a break and relax.

3. Dining alone is key

To create a positive atmosphere for your pets, feed cats and dogs their meals at the same time but remember to put them in separate rooms or parts of a room as they tend to eat at a different pace. As cats and dogs have different nutritional needs, keeping them separate during meals is important to their health. And since many dogs like to snack on cat food, having separate feeding spaces keeps your cat from losing meals to the dog. Dogs are omnivores, and cats are carnivores and they therefore have distinct dietary needs that are unique to each species. It is not appropriate to feed dog food to cats or cat food to dogs as their primary source of food. A nibble here or there doesn’t count. Dogs generally find cat food more palatable as it often has a higher content of protein and fat, especially the canned variety. Cats are probably just curious and will eat out of the dog bowl to just show everyone that they make all the rules and can do what they please. If you need help, visit iams.ca or ask a fellow pet owner for advice.

4.  Set the management mood

To help your cat or dog feel safe while adapting to the sounds and smells of other pets, make sure to keep them company. Don’t leave them alone together for long periods of time and supervise any activities that may have caused problems in the past. Remember to have special bonding time with each pet individually and be sure they all know whose boss.

5. When it doesn’t work out…

Remember, not all pets are meant to be best friends from day one. Don’t worry if yours are polite acquaintances – friendship takes time to build.

For more pet care tips for your cat and dog, visit the OSPCAhttp://www.iams.ca or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/iams.

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