There’s no reason why your family can’t have cats AND dogs if you want them, and they can all be the best of friends if you consider a few things when choosing your pets. First thing to consider is your family’s lifestyle and preferences. Chances are that if your family is very relaxed and laid back, you will choose breeds of both cats and dogs that are relaxed and laid back. You might choose the English Mastiff and the Persian, for example. Or if you enjoy an active lifestyle and like active pets, you might enjoy a Labrador Retriever that loves to run on the beach with you and the playful Oriental. Maybe you like big, fluffy, and playful pets and chose a Golden Retriever and a Maine Coon.
Pairing Mixed Breed Pets as Companions
A very large part of the pet population consists of mixed breed cats and dogs. If you prefer to adopt or rescue your pets, you should still research different breeds. If the shelter tells you a cat is 0.5 Himalayan and 0.5 American Curl, you’ll know what to expect from the cat’s personality. If your family already has a dog that is 0.5 German Shepherd and 0.5 Border Collie, the aforementioned friendly mix would probably get along well with the dog. But if you have a terrier mix that hates cats, you might do better with a strong personality that just gets along with everybody and won’t be stressed by a terrier’s energy.
Remember Your Pet’s Temperament is Unique
Of course your pet’s temperament may not perfectly suit their breed. There are docile Tonkinese kitties out there somewhere, and there are active St. Bernards. If you’ve got a seven year old female domestic cat, nobody knows her temperament better than you do. Take her likes and dislikes into consideration before bringing an active puppy into her home. When looking for a puppy, ask the breeder or rescue worker if the puppy you are interested in has ever been around cats.
Cats & Dogs CAN be Friends!
On the whole, cats and dogs in most families do very well together. Many love each other dearly. Researching breeds and matching both cat and dog breeds to your family’s personality and lifestyle will help ensure many years of peace and happiness for your inter-species family!
A few more things…
Most female dogs and cats are very good mothers, and raising puppies or kittens can be an extremely rewarding experience. Knowing what to expect can help you and your pet enjoy the process.
A cardboard box that is placed in a safe, secluded place can work well as a nesting box. The box should be enclosed, or the top of the box partially covered to keep the light subdued. If the mother senses danger or too much light, she may become anxious and attempt to hide her young or move them elsewhere. At first, the mother should spend most of her time with the young. If she doesn’t, the puppies or kittens may need an additional heat source even though they huddle together to provide warmth. Puppies and kittens should be eating or sleeping 90 percent of the time during the first two weeks of life. If they are crying during or after eating, the mother and entire litter should be promptly examined by a veterinarian.
The puppies or kittens should be checked every few hours to make certain that they are warm and well fed. The mother should be checked to make certain that she is producing adequate milk. Supplemental feeding will be necessary if the litter is large, if the mother does not produce enough milk, or if she gets a mammary infection. A commercial puppy or kitten milk replacer or canned goat’s milk warmed to the touch can be used; your vet can provide you with specific instructions for feeding. Weaning should begin when puppies or kittens are 3-4 weeks old.
Kittens: Place diluted milk in a saucer and encourage the kittens to lap by gently dipping their noses in the milk. This may take a few days. Once the kittens are lapping up the milk, mix in a small amount of canned cat food, gradually increasing the amount until it replaces the milk completely. By 4-6 weeks, the kittens should be eating only solid food. A food that is specially formulated for kittens is recommended for the first year. Many young kittens eat as often as 12 times a day, so free feeding that allows nibbling all day is a good option.
Puppies: Soak puppy food in water and mix it in a saucer with milk replacer to make a gruel. Encourage the puppies to lap by gently dipping their noses in the milk. This may take a few days. Next, mix dry or canned puppy food with the milk replacer, gradually increasing the amount of puppy food until it replaces the milk completely. By 4-6 weeks, the puppies should be eating only solid food. A food that is specially formulated for puppies is recommended for the first 12-18 months.
Check with your vet if a puppy or kitten is not progressing well. Puppies and kittens should double their birth weight the first week, open their eyes at 7-14 days, become alert and try to stand at 2 weeks, usually try to climb out of the box at 3 weeks, and walk, run and play at 4 weeks. Puppies and kittens should receive their first vaccination at 6-8 weeks of age, earlier if they were unable to nurse for any reason.