(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):
- During the first few days, give both animals a space where they can settle and remain calm
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org