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Thinking about getting a dog? Read this first.

Dogs are really not that great. They bark. They smell. They eat cat litter and drag it all around the house. They can't control their bodies. They show every emotion they have. They need constant reassurance. I'll reassure you, dog. Nobody cares.

If you must bring a dog into your home, and you already have a cat that has a history of litter box issues, you need to do some things for your cat's space to make sure she doesn't feel like she is about to be eaten or trampled (like I did for maybe 3 years of my life.)

  1. Create a dog-free space in your home. If you only do one thing, this is the thing to do. Pick a section of your home to be dog free. Get a baby gate that has a cat door. Install it properly so it doesn't fall all the time and give your cat a heart attack. Put your cat's favorite things in this room/space, including at least one of their litter boxes.

2. Make sure your dog listens to and respects the cat's cues. If your cat is hissing, and the dog isn't moving, move the dog away. If your cat is crouching and the dog isn't moving, move the dog away. If your cat scratches the dog or acts likes she's going to scratch him and scares him, this is probably for the best. But don't make your cat do all the work.

3. Schedule daily one-on-one time with your cat. Your cat is really great. Just because you now have a loud, mentally unbalanced creature that demands your constant attention, that doesn't mean you need to give it to him. Teach that canine some boundaries and hang out with your one true love.

4. Give your cat lots of high up places to hang. You should have these already, but cat trees and perches are now vital.

5. Create secret cat bridges and room portals so your cat can move about at will, and with the dignity she deserves. This one is definitely harder to do if you are renting a place or if you aren't into carpentry or DIY, but there are some great Ikea hacks out there that show you how to use the "Lack" shelf as a wall stairway system. My owner cut out a hole in my closet so I can sneak into the child's room and exit out of her door if the door to my room is blocked by a threat. The options are endless. They aren't called catwalks for nothing.

6. Make some extra effort to spread your cat's scent around the house. Did your cat just sleep on a towel? Are you now thinking about throwing it in the wash? DON'T! Throw it on the dog's bed instead, or place it on a couch nearby. Make your house again smell like the most comforting scent in the world: your cat!

7. Keep up your dog's training. If your dog doesn't respect your cat and her space immediately, do some daily cat training with your dog. I hate to say this, but this will require lots of treats and positive reenforcement for your dog. Whatever, dog.

love, Tiny.


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