Cats versus Dogs or Cats and Dogs?

by Katina Stewart, DVM

I grew up with a series of cartoons, shows and editorials pitting cats against dogs and categorizing people as either cat lovers or dog lovers. I still love the cartoons, but I’m not sure that we need to impose a rivalry in our day to day lives. We can love both! The vast majority of my clients like both, even if they own one or the other. My own cats and dogs get along really well, and I see excellent examples of inter-species pet families every day.

There are a few things you can do to ensure you have a successful home for multiple species:

  • Introduce new pets in a short, highly controlled, gradual manner.
  • Ensure there are safe secure places for each animal to go to get away, hide or simply relax.
  • Eliminate the need to compete for food, affection, or other valuable resources.
  • Ensure each animal has enough exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Provide species appropriate home and veterinary care.
  • Be realistic when you own both a predator and it’s natural prey species- never leave them unsupervised, no matter how well they seem to get along.

Would you add anything to this list of ‘musts’ for a happy pet family that included both cats and dogs, or other mixed pet families?  Do you think popular media has it right and most people like either cats or dogs? We’d love to hear your comments on this age old debate.