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Posted on Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 4:09 p.m.

Mindfulness is key in managing multiple pet households

By Lorrie Shaw

Sometimes having one pet just isn't enough. It's always interesting living in a multiple pet household, as most anyone in one will tell you.

Granted, it is fun and rewarding and generally trouble-free, but every family dynamic is different. The arrangement can pose special challenges, and, depending on each pet's breed, personality and age, the issues that can arise can vary. Seldom do situations not work out, and it's usually a matter of taking note about what triggers any trouble and being sure that each pet gets one-on-one attention.

Whether it's multiple dogs, cats or a combination of both, it can be done successfully.

Here are a few tips:


  • Work with each dog individually in training. Remember, all dogs learn and grasp concepts at different paces. To get training down pat, dogs need to focus, but they can't if they are trying to do so with another dog present, regardless of what you're working on. Whether it's loose leash walking, basic commands, polite visitor greetings, or anything else, let yout foh get confident in a behavior by himself first.
  • Understand that rough play/play fighting may be a perfectly normal part of your dogs' language. Click here to read more about behaviors like biting, body slamming and growling.

Multiple cat households

  • Have at least one litter box per cat available and clean at all times.
  • Provide ample amounts of resources for each cat. This means food and water, toys, perches, safe places to observe and hide and attention from their humans.
  • Understand that when there are signs of conflict, there are two types of cats: assertive and threatened. Click here for additional resources from Ohio State University's CVM for households with more than one feline.

Mixed species

  • Cats are territorial animals, just as dogs are. But there is one important difference: cats are more territorial about their surroundings, whereas dog are more centered on their people.
  • A cardinal rule of thumb: make sure that your cat's space is respected.

Check out this fun video of a dog, a cat and a pet bed.

Lorrie Shaw is lead pets blogger for Catch her daily dog walking and pet sitting adventures or email her directly.



Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 12:53 p.m.

Cute video! [Spoiler alert!] I was waiting for Puddy Tat to open up a can of whup-*ss but was disappointed.

Lorrie Shaw

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 1:11 p.m.

RunsWithScissors: It is cute, isn't it? When I first saw the video, I expected the same thing. I'm pretty sure that the cat was staying in the bed to mess with the pooch, or to see how long it would be before he/she gave up. :) I love seeing the different dynamics that contribute in multiple pet households.