When a person owned by a cat decides to become a dog ownerCorey Farrugia
Ghenghis, your cat has been reigning over your heart for quite a few years now. Over a span of few years, Ghenghis learned to trust you enough to allow you to scratch its belly for approximately three seconds before swatting and scratching your hand and leaving in a flurry. This relationship gives you the perfect measure of unreciprocated attention that you got Ghenghis for in the first place. However, time passes, and although you still feel the need for Ghenghis and the unreciprocated love that comes with him (something dog people will never understand), a novel need for adoration has slowly crept on you and pounced on you from behind. What’s worrying is that you were unable to shake this feeling off for these past two years. A need for companionship. A need for reciprocation. Most say that this is what dog ownership offers. Unconditional love. Uncomplicated, with strings attached in all the right places. You will never leave Ghenghis. Ghenghis is that douchebag that you know you can never go without in your life, but will Ghenghis and a new doggy introduction result into a bearable “polyamorous relationship”. Will they tolerate the presence of each other? Will this disturb the sanctity of peace at home and make everyone’s life difficult?
Introducing a puppy
Introducing a puppy to your already established family structure might be the best option. “Might” because although you might have avoided the problem of the puppy already having preconceived ideas about cats, your cat may be the one harbouring ill feelings towards the puppy. You could never know this unless both parties have been tested in similar situations. You can test the waters with your cat by getting your friend’s cat friendly dog for a visit, and see how your cat will react to the new dog. If the cat keeps to its own and seems to be somewhat relaxed around the dog then things might turn out just fine. However, puppies have a way of being stubborn and very insistent on being annoying. It is therefore suggested to make a puppy proof area where the cat can have some alone time away from the puppy. This will help diffuse the tension when things seem to start being a bit too much for the cat. At first, it is best to let the two socialize under your supervision, allowing them to spend more time together as time passes and both the cat and dog start to tolerate each other more. Given time most cats end up really enjoying the dog’s company and differences are glossed over and forgotten. Heck even a fastidious cat can close an eye in exchange for some body heat.
Introducing an adult dog
Now here is where things can get tricky. If you have time on your hands and a lot of patience to spare this feat is not impossible. Some adult dogs just enjoy the company of cats from the get go, while others do not share the same sentiments. Do not despair! Most dogs can get over their reservations with the correct level of exposure and supervision. However, some dogs never manage to stop looking at cats the wrong way. Usually it is best to introduce the animals slowly in small time increments. Letting the two animals occupy a particular room at different times during the first few days will help them get accustomed to each other’s smell. This will help them learn to accept each other’s presence while avoiding coming in direct contact. Another method is to allow the dog to smell the cat while in the safe confinement of a cat carrier. Allow both to physically approach each other when both animals are not overly excited and seem to be reasonably relaxed in each other’s presence. In the case that you want to introduce an adult dog to your family, be responsible and make sure you have a plan B for one of the animals in the case that things do not work out despite your best efforts.
Why wanting to own a dog is a legitimate feeling and why it has nothing to do with not loving your cat
To put it quite simply cats and dogs tick different boxes. While cats prolong our life by purring our stress away while napping on our laps, dogs make us go out on brisk walks and help us keep our bodies active and healthy. Cats give us that detached company when we need some alone time; dogs make us go out and socialize with people often realizing that it was what we really needed all along. Dogs and cats can be total goof balls when alone but the real fun begins when they both get along and become best buds.
Do not let yourself fall victim to the stereotypes that society propagates. Getting a cat to live harmoniously with a dog might be a bit of a challenge at first but with the right frame of mind and some determination you can have both living peacefully under the same roof. Most cat – dog relationships result in great friendships where both enjoy each other’s company. Some sleep together in the same bed! Perhaps this supposedly unlikely couple will be what will breathe new life into your Instagram account. Everyone will love your cute cat – dog photos. And seriously … the “fight like cat and dog” idiom merits a revision.