In October 2013, Animal Services personnel in Seminole Valley, Florida discovered a 2 year old Dachshund standing guard over a 7 month old paraplegic cat on the side of the road. When the animals were brought in for treatment, the veterinary staff named them Idgie and Ruth, respectively, after the film Fried Green Tomatoes. The animal shelter soon discovered that Idgie became sad whenever Ruth was away being treated. Since then, the pair has been taken in by a foster parent who understands the importance of keeping them together. Idgie spends her days watching over Ruth protectively when she is not receiving care related to her paralysis. It wasn’t long before their heartwarming story made it to the media; you can read more about them here.
As this example proves, dogs and cats can be friends. If your pets are having difficulty getting along, you may find the following tips helpful.
- Purchase a covered litter box, or place the box in a location that your dog cannot reach. Cats find interference by another animal when they are using the litter box to be extremely stressful, and if this becomes a regular occurrence, they may stop using the litter box altogether.
- Provide your cat with a scratching post, and make sure their nails are trimmed at all times. Should your cat feel threatened by your dog, instinct will cause them to strike out with their claws, which could cause severe damage to your dog.
- Make sure your pets have separate feeding areas where they can eat peacefully and undisturbed. It is ideal if you can place your cat’s food on an elevated surface out of the dog’s reach.
If you would like your dog and cat to be best buddies, it very well may happen over time. However, since the true goal is to make sure they do not fight or irritate each other, keep in mind that peaceful coexistence can be a fine outcome as well.