Cats and Dogs Together – Are They Compatible?

An old stereotype exists about dogs and cats being incompatible, but many households across the globe have a dog and cat, or even several dogs and several cats, living in complete harmony. Though many conflicting characteristics make up these two species, they can often not only co-exist peacefully, but also become the best of friends.

Cats and Dogs, Living Together!
Sometimes, people are forced to blend a cat household and a dog household together, such as when couples marry or when adult children move back home. Other times, animal lovers just need to expand their love opportunities to include other species. Whatever the reason, this change in environment can be very disruptive to all parties. To reduce the stress on everyone, you can follow a few simple tips to allow the household to gradually adapt to the changes in activity, odors, schedules and status.

Dog Breeds That Accept Cats
Pet owners should understand that some breeds are naturally hostile to cats and will chase and attack them. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to provide a safe environment for both species. These breeds include greyhounds and borzois, sight hounds that instinctively chase small, furry prey. Cat-friendly breeds include the Labrador retrievers, poodles and collies. Of course, individual differences can make the adjustments easier or more challenging. If you get a dog from a shelter, choose one that was raised in a household with cats.

Cat That Accept Dogs
Cats will generally learn to accept a dog in the household as long as the canine respect the cat’s space. Fortunately, cats can jump to get away from a dog when that space is violated. The cat will determine how much “closeness” is allowed and will hand out “discipline” to the dog if required. Manx cats are one breed that is known to get along well with other animals in a household, but individual cats may have problems adjusting.

Growing Up Together
The best and easiest way to have both dogs and cats in your household is to have them grow up together. Acquire the kitten and puppy around the same period of time, and they will always be accustomed to having an animal of a different species in their household.

Introducing Your Puppy To Your Cat
Puppies are full of boundless energy without a lick of restraint, so you will have to be the controlling force in keeping the animal in check while the cat gets used to him. Put the cat in a separate room so that she will be unmolested in her own space. Put her bowl, cat toys and any other articles that will make her feel comfortable. It’s a good idea to start the puppy training so that he will obey your commands Allow the puppy into her space on leash and only under strict supervision. Let the cat watch the puppy from a safe distance for a time, so that she can become accustomed to the high level of energy, but don’t allow the puppy to get too close to her. After a time, the cat may want to investigate at a closer range. Make sure she can safely do so by keeping the puppy on leash. If the puppy becomes rambunctious, remove him from the area. Observe your cat for signs of distress or aggression. Extend these sessions to longer and longer periods. After the puppy no longer considers the cat a threat or new “toy,” try taking him off leash. If he behaves, allow the two to interact in a gentle manner. If he gets too rowdy, the cat may take a swipe at him to warn him off. The introduction may take several weeks for successful adjustment between the two animals.

Introducing A Kitten To Your Dog
Introducing a new kitten to an existing dog is similar. Many experts feel no face-to-face meeting should occur for the first week to allow the newcomer to become comfortable in the new surroundings and to allow the existing pet to get used to the new smells and activities in the household. The initial plan is the same, putting the kitten into a separate space with all that she needs. Introduce the new kitten to other cats in the household before introducing her to the dog. When this is done to satisfaction, bring the dog into the safe room, on leash, and allow the two animals to watch each other. Make sure that the dog does not show aggression to the kitten. Correct him for bad behavior and praise him for calm behavior. Allow the kitten to approach the dog on her own terms. They may sniff each other to become familiar. Be ready with a hand on the leash or a water pistol to separate them. You must repeat this encounter procedure many times to ensure that the two will not act aggressively. When you are certain that the dog will not attack the kitten, you can then try taking off the dog’s leash, but only when you are there to supervise. Keep the animals separated when you leave the house. Ensure that the dog and cat have separate feeding areas where they will be undisturbed. A pet gate will keep the dog away from the cat-feeding bowl and litter box.

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