How to Keep a Happy Cat in a Dog-Dominated Home

July 26, 2016

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Are you a cat person or a dog person? They say you can’t be both, but I respectfully disagree. I love any and all cute and cuddly creatures. If it has four legs and fur, I will probably fall in love with it.

About six years ago I started bugging Nick to get our first pet. You see, my family has always had cats. Mostly strays that liked to hang out outside our home, but we always had some kind of fur creature around. Once I went off to college I missed having something snuggly in my life, so shortly after Nick and I got engaged, we adopted our first cat, Susie.

Susie Kitten

Susie is one of the most unique cats I’ve ever met (but don’t we all say this about our pets?) She is so playful, loves to jump on top of the refrigerator and observe the surroundings, and also is extremely stubborn. I’ve never met a cat who is so strong-willed. She’s vocal and loves to communicate with you through chirps and squeaks.

But, after a two years and a move across the country, I started itching to give Susie a sister. And this time, we wanted a puppy. Since I grew up in a cat family, this would be my first dog and we weren’t exactly sure how Susie, our only child for nearly two years, would handle it. Thankfully our dog Anabelle (a shepherd/collie mix) acts more like a cat than a dog, and she and Susie got along just fine when we introduced them in 2012.

Fast forward to 2015 and we added Jack (a border collie) to the household. My first male pet, he acts exactly what I would imagine a little boy to act like. He and Susie… well… they’ve learned to live with each other. He has more energy than Susie and Anabelle combined (multiplied times a million) so it’s been a learning process for all of us in the family.

As I imagine it is with human children, we’ve had to remember to give each of our fur kids the love and attention that they deserve individually. Remembering to fulfill all of the proper cat needs that Susie has is difficult when you have the other two (very high maintenance) pets to attend to! I wanted to share with you all a few ways that we keep a happy cat in our dog-dominated home:


– We have a nightly ritual between just us and the cat. Each evening since we have gotten Susie, as we settle into bed, I give her a few cat treats to sort of call the day to an end. And Susie has her ritual too! As we walk into the bedroom, she pops up onto our nightstand and patiently waits for us to pull out the treat bag. After a few treats and chin rubs, she takes a quick bath and then snuggles into bed in between my feet.

– Learn your cats’ behavior. For example, I know that Susie will not eat out of her food bowl if she can see the bottom of the dish, so I make sure to always keep her dish full. She also refuses to drink out of the water dish meant for her. She will only drink out of the dog bowl! Because of that, I make sure that she is getting enough water throughout the day to keep her hydrated.

Litter Genie Susie 1

– Updated vaccinations and medications are essential. Many cat owners don’t keep their cats on flea/tick/heartworm medications if they are indoors because they don’t see the need if they aren’t going outside. Even though Susie likes to slip out every once in a while, she is a 100% indoor cat. Since the dogs go out often, we make sure that Susie is kept on these medications in case the dogs bring something in from outside.

– Scratching posts are necessary to keep your furniture safe. Susie loves, and I mean LOVES to pick at things. When we got Jack I purchased a large cat tree that allows Susie to get her scratching out and has kept her (somewhat) from using our upholstered headboard as a scratching post.

– Allow cats to have their own space. Susie doesn’t mind the dogs too much but when they get rowdy, she needs to room to herself. During the day we block off our master suite so that Susie can get in but the dogs can’t. This gives her a chance to take a nap in peace without dog noses being stuck all over.

– Keep the litter box clean! Other than simple sanitary reasons, it’s imperative for us to keep our litter box clean because the dogs see the litter box as… well… boxes with “treats” for them. We love this particular litter box because it’s harder for the dogs to go “litter-diving.” We don’t need the dogs getting into the box and eating “treats!” Thankfully the Litter Genie® Cat Litter Disposal System allows us to clean out the litter box quickly and easily. If you’re curious what it is, imagine small trash can that seals away used litter so that you don’t have to take trips to the large trash can each time. We absolutely love it! I’m cleaning the little box once a day now, where as I was doing it maybe twice a week before. I love that you only have to “take out the trash” once every 2 weeks because everything is sealed away so it helps eliminate odors wherever you keep your litter box.

Litter Genie Susie 2

Litter Genie Pail 1

And, since we’re in an apartment I’m thankful that the Litter Genie® Pail is small, discreet and doesn’t take up too much room. It’s so easy to use and took just a couple of minutes to set up. The best part? I didn’t have to go to a specialty pet store to find it. I buy all of my pet supplies at Target and this was no different! You can find the Litter Genie® Cat Litter Disposal System right beside the litter boxes in the pet section. (Or you can grab it online. I also loved the price – just $14.99! Absolutely, 100% worth it.) So as I’m grabbing my cat treats, catnip and laser pointers at Target, I can grab a refill for my Litter Genie® Pail every two months.

Litter Genie Target

Now, I want to know, how do you keep a happy cat? I know many of you are “crazy cat ladies” so I want to know what makes your feline companion happy!

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