Cats and Dogs: They Really Can Get Along!

If you’re a dog owner looking to add a new cat to your home, using a systematic approach to introduce the two to each other will ensure that your household won’t have anyone fighting like cats and dogs.  Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • Carefully consider your dog’s personality and breed.  Sight hounds, like the Ibizan Hound, which was originally bred to hunt rabbits, are most likely to have trouble with cats because their hunting instincts are triggered by their sense of sight. When small animals move quickly sight hounds react immediately.  Make sure your dog does not have a lot of prey drive before you bring a cat into the picture.
  • Keep them separated at first.  Keep the dog and cat separated for the first few days.  This will help your new cat get acclimated to her new home.  Let her live in a room with the door closed.  Provide a litter box, water and food so the cat does not need to leave the room.
  • The nose knows.  Your dog will know there’s a new scent in the house.  Let him sniff near the door of the room with the cat so he gets used to the smell.  You can also let your cat sniff one of your dog’s toys so she becomes familiar with him.
  • After a few days, let your dog in the room with the cat after he’s been exercised and is calmer.  If the dog isn’t under good control, do some training in the presence of the cat (come, sit, down, stay).  Giving your dog a food reward for appropriate behavior in the presence of the cat will provide an incentive for him to continue acting appropriately.
  • Always make sure the cat has a way to get away from the dog.  A good example is a chair she can jump on to get to a space the dog can’t reach.  Until the cat and dog are comfortable with each other, supervise their interactions and continue to provide a way for the cat to escape.

Do you have any tips that you found worked for you in addition to these?

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4 comments on “Cats and Dogs: They Really Can Get Along!
  1. LoveMyKees! says:

    Good tips! That also works well to introduce another cat to another cat. :)

    It is very important for people to know the breed traits of their dog before making the decision to get it or before adding new “family members” to the house! It is ironic, though, that I did my research to find a dog that had no hunting instincts to join my house run by the cats, but he still likes to chase the shyer cat that runs. To keep the peace, I utilize strategically placed pet gates that have the small pet door to have a couple of “dog-free zones” for the cats to escape to. Just be careful of opening the pet gates in front of your dog, for they can learn to open it up themselves as mine has (even with the “child-proof” lock engaged!) I have trained him to refrain from doing it now, but have a back-up plan just in case he can’t resist the urge.

    Though it’s taken a lot of time, my pup and all but the cat that used to be feral, are fine with each other now (friends is a bit of a stretch… but it seems you’d have better luck for peace to introduce a cat, especially a kitten into a household with a no-hunting instincts dog, than vice versa.)

  2. Linda McMinis says:

    All of my dogs have always gotten along with my cats, and their kittens. Funny the dog a Corgi/Bassett hound mix would take the kittens so gently away from the mother cat and place them in his bed while she was eating! And when she would finsh eating she would put them back where she had her bed. The dog’s name is Buster, or Butters when he is kitty sitting.

  3. Rick says:

    I have a Boxer, sweet as pie, but like most doggies, will definitely get “chasey” if given the opportunity. One thing which worked for me was to avail myself of friends who have two cats who also live with 5 dogs! Those kitties are so “dog adjusted” that they allowed my Boxer (on leash, of course) to come right up to sniff their bellies and all over! LOL, it was pretty cute. After a number of interactions of calmness, my girl was pretty comfy just romping the house with all the dogs & treat the cats around like another piece of furniture!.

  4. Cats and Dogs have precious life that should be treasured. care tips are important to keep your pet happy, healthy and safe from harm. Thanks!

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