The age-old phrase "fighting like cats and dogs" doesn't have to be the case. Despite popular belief, canines and felines can, in fact, live together in harmony. If you're a cat owner looking to add a dog to your household, here are some tips from the American Kennel Club and Cat Fanciers' Association on how to have a happy home with both species. Keep in mind that these are generalizations that may not apply to all dogs within a group. Your best bet is to consult a breeder of any specific breed before adding a pet to your home.
Look for dogs that possess catlike dispositions:
• Some breeds are traditionally used to hunt small game and vermin. Certain toy breeds, such as the affenpinscher, have the ability to track and catch vermin much like a cat.
• Toy breeds such as chihuahuas or Yorkshire terriers can be litter box trained. Make sure that you use separate boxes and that the new dog does not have access to the cat's litter box because clumping cat litter is toxic to dogs when ingested and gets trapped in the digestive system. Litter made from recycled newspaper is best.
Do's and don'ts for dogs and cats:
• Most dog breeds can live happily with cats if introduced as puppies. Your best bet is to consult a breeder to see if they would recommend their breed in a household with cats.
• Nonsporting dogs like the bulldog would be a good match for your cat. Nonsporting dogs are companions first, and are not hunters by nature like some of the other groups. Bulldogs in particular are very easygoing and get along well with other pets.
• Some large breeds are not good with cats. Hounds have strong hunting instincts and are traditionally used to chase game. Sight hounds like the Ibizan hound, which was originally bred to hunt rabbits, are most susceptible to trouble with cats because their hunting instincts are triggered by their sense of sight. When small animals move quickly, sight hounds react immediately.
Learn more about the different dog and cat breeds at www.meetthebreeds.com.