How to make sure your cats and dogs can peacefully coexist in your home

Korin Miller
Writer


Having several cats and dogs under one roof can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a lot to manage.

Pet owner Nayelli has five pets — dogs Lola, 3, Matilda, 9, and Juliana, 3, and cats Bridgette and Bruno, both 12. “It is a big family. There’s never a dull moment,” Nayelli tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

It can be tricky to make sure all of her pets are getting the individual care they need while peacefully coexisting, which is why Nayelli called on Callie Harris, DVM, a veterinarian at Purina.

Matilda is “the police of the house,” Nayelli says. “She’s the one who decides whether the cats can go in this room or not.”

Feeding her crew can be “challenging,” Nayelli admits. “I used to cook for the dogs but it takes a lot of time and then I didn’t really know if it was balanced or not,” she says. Now, her three dogs eat the same type of food.

That can be tricky when the dogs have such a big age gap. “You absolutely want your pets to be on a diet that is complete and balanced, but because you also have difference in ages it’s also going to be important to feed for the appropriate life stage too,” Harris says. For senior dogs like Matilda, she recommends using a food like Purina One Smart Blend Vibrant Maturity to make sure Matilda’s needs are being met. Senior cats also need a special formula like Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus. “It’s a really good opportunity to make sure that they can live as happily and as long as we want them to live,” Harris says.

While Bridgette is often in the mix with the rest of the family pets, Bruno tends to prefer to stay up high, Nayelli says. Pets “need to have an area that they can escape to,” Harris says, which is why she suggests adding a cat climbing tree that can go up toward the ceiling for Nayelli’s shyer cat. That tree can then be moved into the living room, so Bruno can comfortably hang out with the rest of his family when they’re gathered there.

“Having a lot of pets in one house can be a bit of a zoo,” Harris says. “Giving each pet the attention and care they need is key to a harmonious home.”