Cats and dogs do not historically get along well, but many households have found harmony with both species living beneath the same roof. Before bringing a cat into a home where a dog is already living, there are a number of things that must be considered.
If the dog has ever shown a tendency to want to chase cats or other small, furry animals, it may be better not to bring a cat into the home, as that could result in the dog behaving in a way that is normal for them but frightens the cat. Dogs who have been aggressive towards cats in the past should absolutely remain in a cat-free environment for their own safety and comfort.
Be a Matchmaker
It is important to consider the personality of both animals. If the dog is prone to chasing or playing roughly, then a fearful cat or a fragile kitten would not be an ideal match.
An older dog would be better suited to an older, calm cat, as opposed to a young and boisterous kitten.
Likewise, if a puppy is already in the home, bringing in an older and quieter cat would be stressful for the cat and confusing for the puppy.
Making sure that the ages and personalities of the cat and dog in question will mesh comfortably is an important step in ensuring that the home will ease back into a copacetic environment after the initial introduction.
Take It Slow, and Lead with the Nose
For the first few days that the animals are in the home together, they should be kept separate so that they can adjust to smelling the other in the house.
They should both be given equal time roaming the house and being cooped up; not only will this prevent them from feeling like they are not being treated fairly, but it will also allow them to adjust to each other’s scent on objects in the house.
This should continue until both are calm when they are in the shared space of the home, as this means that they are no longer riled up by the scent of the other.
The first face-to-face introduction of the animals should occur in a calm, quiet environment. The dog should be leashed closely to the owner. They should be allowed to share the same space, but the dog should be prevented from approaching the cat until the cat has shown that it accepts the dog’s presence.
This leashed process should continue until the dog is ignoring the cat in the room, and the cat is behaving normally without fear or stress. This is determined by whether or not the cat is eating and using the litter box.
Once this occurs and both animals are completely accepting of each other, the dog can be let off leash and they can be allowed to interact directly. If there are any signs of fear or aggression, then the dog should be leashed and that process should be followed again until the cat and dog are both completely comfortable again.
Friends at Last
Finally, when the interactions are acceptable when supervised, the animals can be allowed to be together without supervision. Further issues should always be addressed immediately.
Click the images to see more cats and dogs getting along together.