It’s important after the first few weeks/months of introducing your new siblings to keep putting in the work. It takes a long time for them to build a bond and get used to their housemate, so stay patient and let them build in confidence over time, there’s no need to rush anything.
Keeping the confidence
We noticed with Rue that it took almost the whole year to truly settle into her new routine and understand that the little guy was here to stay. She’s done amazingly well adapting to her brother, but of course as he has grown bigger than her we did see her lose a little confidence around him. Lucky for us, Claude is most definitely not the prey driven breen (a Frenchie x Poodle would you believe), and we felt it super important to opt for a breed that wasn’t so inclined to stalk and chase other fluffy friends. This aside, he’s completely obsessed with Rue (who isn’t) so it has been tricky teaching him to keep his cool around her and not get overexcited.
Rewarding calm behaviour has definitely worked for us, and he seems to finally be understanding that he’s more likely to get closer to a snuggle bud if he maintains a nonchalant, cat-like attitude. Rue has come to realise he’s not out to get her, and although each day presents new challenges, building her confidence around Claude is definitely paying off. Whatever your cat loves, try keeping this up around the pup. With Rue, being brushed is her ultimate pamper time, puts her in a trance-like state and she’s quickly forgotten any worries she might have in her teeny cat brain. We tried to brush her a lot around her newbie brother to reinforce that positive experiences can still occur despite there being a dog to dodge, and it seems to have worked.
Bonding two animals will for most owners take a lot of time and patience. Rushing two little beasts to be besties won’t get you there, noticing their subtle queues, respecting them and accepting their boundaries, and not forcing a friendship until they are both ready will hopefully see you all living together in harmony with your whole pack. Rue has been a dream and exceeded all of my expectations considering she’s always been a naturally anxious cat. Her confidence seems to have grown since having a new bro to boss around, she puts him in his place but is slowly letting him get closer and closer during their daily naps together, it is adorable.
Working through the fear
There’s no denying it’s hard work, and we can guarantee you’ll go through waves of every emotion under the sun, including the ‘puppy regret’ stage. We did, and I imagine most new pup parents do. Have I made the right choice? Is my cat going to hate me forever? Will I ever get a full night’s sleep again? Taking on any new little beasty is a full time job, and the anxiety over the OG pet’s happiness is a real fear I experienced myself. Rue has been an only child her whole life, an entire 9 years receiving literally all of my time and attention, so it was a huge change for us all to adapt to when the bounding ball of Claude arrived, sucking all of my energy. But we adapt, and so will you! Scheduling in some daily snuggle time just for the whiskered one will reassure them and you that their space can be shared, they are still adored and even though it seems like everything has changed, nothing really has when it comes to how much you love them.
There is no right way of course, and every cat vs dog scenario will be different. We’re confident that with patience, calmness and plenty of space between the two of them when they need it, that they can live together just fine. And one day down the line, whether it takes days, months or years, the whole pack will be snuggled up snoozing on the sofa together in harmony.
As ever in the Republic, we can’t get enough of your cat tales, so if your citizen has found peace around their puppy pal, we’d love to hear your success stories and any other tips and tricks that helped to maintain the zen and build their bond. Drop your happily ever after stories and pics in our Facebook Community – we’d love to read about your furry family and bust the myth that cats and dogs can’t become the best of friends.
The Republic x
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By Lois Roberts