Dogs and Cats – Can They Get Along?

(In this picture: My dog Kimberly and my cat Sully begging for treats)


Dogs and cats – Can they get along? This is a question I see many people ask.

The truth is they can, especially if introduced to each other at a very young age. However, it is never too late and it also depends on dogs and cats’ personalities and whether the introduction has been done correctly.

I personally have one dog and two cats and they live together in harmony 🙂

When they first met, the cats were only 7 months old while the dog was 7 years old. We saw this advert from a woman here in town who could no longer keep her cats and she was looking to rehome them as a pair as they were brothers.

I must admit, initially both my partner and I were a bit worried. My dog can be very shy when meeting new dogs and we did not know if meeting cats would have been even worse.

The lady assured us that the cats were really friendly. My dog has always been good-natured, so we thought that this could actually work…so we gave it a try.

We explained this lady what our situation was, so we agreed on having the cats for 2 weeks to see how things would go. If they did not get along, then she would have simply taken her cats back and searched for someone else to have them.

I remember when she dropped them off for the first time. They were both in a cat carrier and when the lady opened it, Buzz came out straight away and came towards me for a stroke, while Sully went to hide behind the sofa.

My dog Kimberly ran upstairs and hid under the bed. I immediately thought that was not going to work.

The same hiding routine happened over and over again for the next 3 to 4 days but eventually they all got used to each other pretty quickly and on day 5 we were all chilling in the same room 🙂

Unfortunately, they never got attached enough to groom each other or sleep in the same basket, like you see in those cute YouTube videos 🙂 However, they live in harmony and the cats do follow us and the dog when we go for walks, so I believe deep down they care about each other 😉

(In the picture below: Buzz and Kimberly sunbathing)


 

Evaluating your Pet’s Personality

This is an important step to take before thinking of getting an additional pet.

A cat that is too territorial might simply never be able to live with another pet. Same thing with a dog who in the past has always enjoyed chasing and scaring cats away 😉

However, if you think your pet is good-natured and has never shown any sign of aggression to other animals, then you can consider adding a new fluffy baby to the family 🙂


 

Introducing Dogs and Cats to Each Other

This needs to be done carefully and gradually and your pets should not be pushed to spend more time than they want to together in one go.

It is important to do things right or you could risk that your cat and dog will never like each other again.

Normally, these are the steps that should be followed when introducing a dog and a cat to each other (although we didn’t need to this with our pets):

  1. During the first few days, give both animals a space where they can settle and remain calm
  2. Once both animals are settled, grab 2 pieces of cloth and use one to rub on the dog and one to rub on the cat. This way, you will collect their scents and you can then swap the clothes around, so that the cat can get used to the dog’s smell and vice versa
  3. If possible, let the cat and dog see each other for short period of times through a glass door. If you do not have a glass door, you could then skip to the next step
  4. Have a stair gate installed and keep the cat in one room and the dog in another. This way they will be able to see and smell each other, without getting too close
  5. Finally, when you think they are ready, let the cat and dog meet in the same room. Make sure you give them treats to reward their positive behaviours. Perhaps start off by keeping the dog on the lead to keep them under control, while the cat has the freedom to run and hide if they feel like it

 


 

Leaving the Cat and Dog on Their Own

Any pets that have just been introduced to each other should not be left on their own. You will only risk adding more stress on top of them missing you being around.

It is very important that you are 100% confident that your pets can live in harmony under the same roof and only then you can start leaving them on their own for a short amount of time.

I would recommend that you start off with 5 minutes a day and gradually build things up.

Ensure you also let your pets access different areas of the house, so that they can have their privacy if they don’t feel like being around each other.

I still remember how nervous I was the first few times I had to leave my dog and cats home alone. Having a pet monitoring system definitely helped me put my mind at ease 🙂


 

Dogs and Cats Living Together – Tell me Your Stories

Have you ever had to introduce a dog to a cat and if so, what did you do to make things go well and how did it go?

I would love to hear your stories, so please feel free to leave a comment below 🙂

Alternatively, you can email me at cristina@bestpetmonitors.com

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Cristina

21 thoughts on “Dogs and Cats – Can They Get Along?

  1. While I love the old Tom & Jerry cartoons, I wonder about how Spike (the bulldog) chasing and beating up Tom on a regular basis has played into the stereotype of dogs and cats not getting along.

    I’ve seen this view perpetuated by people who’ve never owned a pet and from both cat and dog lovers who think that these two animals are mortal enemies.

    They’re not as anyone who has both animals as pets knows. Every animal has its own personality and they can be as gentle, loving and tolerant (often more so) as us humans. There are also the ones who are a pain in the ass. Every species on the planet has them! So one bad experience with two animals of different species not getting along should be used as a broad generalisation for every potential dog and cat household.

    1. Hey Gary, thank you for your comment 🙂

      I must admit, I used to believe in the whole ‘cats and dogs are enemies’ thing too.

      I think, as you said, it is just that sort of stereotype that we all are used to and it is hard to take off our heads unless we actually have a positive experience that changes our mind!

      My pets tolerate each other very well and I hope my post will reach out many people out there who are perhaps ‘scared’ of getting a cat just because they already have a dog and vice versa 🙂

  2. Hi! Thank you for sharing! I always wonder about this question! And I always admire people like you because I just think it is very difficult to have both a dog and cats.
    We introduced my dog to my friend’s 2 cats once before. It was actually strange. The cats just ignore him and he ignored them. They barely interacted, one cat did get close and sniff him, but that’s it. The other cat doesn’t even look at him, haha. The good thing was that they didn’t become aggressive.
    Thanks for sharing about how to introduce dogs to cats! Now I am more confident because I do want a cat!

    1. Thank you for reading Kai 🙂

      I believe that as long as you do things step by step and follow the tips that I mentioned, you will be fine.

      The fact that your dog has ignored your friend’s cats, it is a good sign, meaning that you should be able to at least get your dog and future cat to tolerate each other, which is brilliant 🙂

      I mean, do not get me wrong….I would love for my dog and cats to cuddle up like you see in those cute YouTube videos but tolerance is still better than nothing…lol 😀

      Good luck and let me know if you need anything!

      Cristina

  3. Hello Cristina,

    Wow, O.o the picture is so peaceful!

    Well, I agree that the cat and dog are usually fighting with each other, but there is an exception. A cat can stay with the dog, but in the reserve way, it might not very true.

    I support your point: the personalities of the dog and the cat. I like the cat more than the dog-> so I know there is one kind of cat who can get along with any animal.

    And one more good thing that your dog Kimberly is calm and little shy I think. Those things combine together-> we have a peaceful cat and dog.

    I have a question. What are their reactions when they first smell each other clothes? when you let Sully smells the dog’s clothes? what is Sully first reaction? I’m curious! Can you share?

    1. Hey Gnekoda,

      Thank you for your comment 🙂

      When we first got Kimberly to meet the cats, we were not able to take the right approach of putting them into separate rooms and getting them to smell each others clothes, because we live in a very small house.

      We were also confident that they would have been fine as the cats were kittens and my dog has always been shy with other animals but never aggressive.

      They kept running away from each other for a couple of days but then they were fine after that 🙂

      As you also said, it all depends on personality and I think the approach mentioned in my article can be flexible depending on the pets’ personalities 🙂

      Please let me know if you need anything else!

      Cristina

  4. Yeah, dogs and cats can definitely get along. And it’s actually a fun process to observe, because they are such different animals and they behave differently. I agree that it’s best to introduce them to each other at a young age, because they are least aggressive at that time and there’s less chance that they will start fighting.

  5. Hello there!

    I have a cat, but he can’t stand even other cats. Actually he makes friends outside, but he doesn’t want anyone to invade his personal space. I saw it once playing with a very young kitten (almost 3 months) and after a while they became friends. I found out the little kitten was abandoned, so I took it home. My cat just started to hate me, he didn’t eat no more, he didn’t play no more. I could read his disappointment in his eyes. After a while, I decided to give the new cat to a friend, and my cat started to love me again. This is his personality and is just impossible to change it. But he is still adorable! Lol

    On the other hand, my aunt has 2 cats and 2 dogs and they’re always having great time together. They have grown together, so maybe that’s why.

    Great post anyway! Thank you, Cristina!

    1. Hey Anna,

      Wow, that is a fascinating story… I can’t believe how expressive pets can be sometimes. My dog has tantrums like a spoiled brat when she is not happy with me..haha 🙂

      Unfortunately, I guess training won’t always work with all of them and we have to accept their personalities. Our current pets always come first, despite wanting to rehome more pets!

      How is the other cat getting on at your friend’s house now?

      Many thanks,

      Cristina

  6. We’ve always had cats and dogs with no problem.  In fact, it’s usually more of an issue with our dogs when we bring a new dog into the family.  We have 2 white German Shepherds and 3 cats right now.  The smallest and oldest of the bunch is a 17-year-old black female cat who rules the roost.  In fact, she’ll sit on the top step of our basement stairs and won’t move while our huge male shepherd cries because she’s not letting him go past her!

    I definitely agree that you can’t keep new animals by themselves alone until you’re sure that they are fine together.  

    1. Hi Janelle,

      hahaha that is so funny and cute at the same time 🙂 One of my cats often whacks the dog when the dog gets hyper.

      I believe that even in my situation, the dog would probably be less happy to have another dog in the house, as opposed to the cats. I guess it’s ‘cos they want to be “one of a kind” in their own environment 😉

      Cristina

  7. Thank you Cristina for sharing all of your great information.

    We currently have a couple of dogs but my girlfriend wants to add a cat to our family. I have always been against having dogs and cats living together with us, just thought that it would be one big fight all of the time. I like your recommendations on how to acclimate the dogs and cats to each other. Who knows, since we love animals, maybe we will add a cat to our family after all.

    1. HI Micah,

      Thank you for your comment 🙂

      Just take it easy, use the methods I mentioned in my article and praise your pets every time they do well. It will take time but things will go well as long as you follow a structure. 

      If your dogs are of good nature, I don’t see why you can’t make this work out 🙂

      Let me know how it goes!

      Cristina

  8. Hi Cristina,

    You have a very good article. At first, I really don’t believe dogs and cats can get along. You really explained what to do on how these two pets can get along. Which is really scary to think of? Maybe in the future I can apply what you have wrote…

    It seems you are very good in pet’s character? Can you recommend which pet to adapt first? A dog or a cat? I am planning to take care of a pet soon. Because my friend told me they can reduce stress after work. I hope you can answer my Question.. Thanks in advance..

  9. Hi Cristina,

    First I want to congratulate you on Buzz and Kimberley, I can both appreciate they are very good friends. I share with you the love towards animals. You achieved with your step by step that both angels get along very well and form a beautiful family.

    I live in the countryside and I also live with different animals such as dogs, horses, sheep and cows. I do not have cats because my dog “Lola” does not tolerate them. We all live in perfect harmony.

    Thanks for sharing your love with animals.

    Merry Christmas! Claudio

    1. Ah Claudio, lucky you living in the middle of the countryside. Where about do you live?

      I believe all animals can be friends if properly trained 🙂

      Merry Christmas and Happy new year!

  10. I have to commend you for your article!  It is most appropriate and very helpful for anyone trying to get these two kinds together.  

    I have a 6 year old standard poodle and one of her favorite things in the whole world is chasing the neighbor’s cat!  She goes crazy when she looks out the window and sees “Dorian” outside.  My daughter had the crazy idea to bring Dorian (that’s my neighbor’s cat name by the way) inside my house one time while she was watching him for a few days.  Well that did not go well! A couple of kitchen chair on their side and a broken vase later, we opened the front door and let the cat out, and kept our dog inside.

    All of this to say that your method of giving them space when they are first introduced is absolutely necessary.  Anything done in a flash, like my daughter did, will most likely end up in disaster like it did here!  

    I also like the “piece of clothe” method you suggest.  That should make them more aware of one another.  

    We had thought of getting a cat, but after what had happened, we had changed our minds, however, by following your instructions, maybe we could make it work. I’m just not sure how to introduce them with having my dog getting all over the cat, especially the first time.  What would be the best way to do this?  Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

    1. Hi Denis,

      I would suggest you first train the dog not to chase cats outside as my worry is: “what would the dog do then in their own territory?”. Just use positive training. Distract the dog when the cat is around and reward the dog when she pays attention to you instead of the cat.

      Once that step is done, perhaps you could ask your neighbour if you could go visit them and bring the dog, so that she can learn to walk around the house off the lead with a cat in that enclosed environment?

      Many thanks,

      Cristina

  11. Hi Cristina. Great article.  I’ve thought many times about getting a companion for our miniature schnauzer and I’ve considered both another dog and a cat. While she is never aggressive toward other animals (okay, she does chase the ducks but she just likes to make them fly. One refused once and she didn’t know what to do with it. lol) she’s been the only animal in the house her entire life. She’s 8 yrs old now. 

    Your story gives me hope that even older dogs who are used to being an ‘only child’ can readily adapt to new household members. Thanks for sharing. 

    David

    1. Hi David,

      Thank you for your comment 🙂

      I do think it is never too late with anything. You just have got to have patience and find the right training for your pets, as they are all different!

      Let me know if you end up expanding the family 😀

      Cristina

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