Can Cats and Dogs Get Along

Fighting Like Cats and Dogs

Most of us have heard the saying “fighting like cats and dogs”. But is this expression factual and do all cats and dogs instinctively fight? It may seem

Our dog Sunny, a purebred Lemondrop Beagle and his best friend, our Snow Leopard Bengal cat Mocha.
Our dog Sunny and his best friend, our Bengal cat Mocha.

that given the size difference between cats and most dogs, that there would be some type of rivalry between the two. Having a cat and dog in your home may not work out and it is possible that the cat and dog will


not get along. If you happen to live in a home with cats and would like to bring a dog into your home, it would be best if possible, to get the dog when it's still young, preferably while it's still a puppy. A puppy is more likely to adapt to a home with cats as it is still not set in its ways.

Tips and Tricks

There are some things you can do if you want to bring a cat or dog into a home that already has a pet in it.

  • Before bringing a new pet into your home, you need to ensure that you have the room and space for it. You will need to have the space to be able to keep the pets separated for a few days. If your home already has a dog in it, you will want to ensure that your dog follows your commands. You don't want the cat you are bringing into your home to be immediately intimidated by an aggressive or over-excited dog.
  • The introduction should be done slowly. Keep the pets separated for the first 3 or 4 days so the pets have time to adjust to the new smells. Keeping them in separate rooms is the best option until you introduce them to each other. The possibility of your cat and dog fighting is greater if you rush the introduction.
  • You should also alternate the rooms you are keeping the pets in so that they can get the scent of the other animal. Smells are very important to animals and are the way they get to know each other, even if they haven't met face to face. You could rub your dog with a towel and then place the towel under the cat's food dish so that it gets used to the scent of the dog.
  • The first time you introduce your cat and dog, keep them separated by a door and let them get the scent of each other under the door.
  • You want to wait until your cat is relaxed before introducing it to your dog. You may also want to wear some type of protection in case your cat does become startled or frightened and scratches you. You will also want to keep your dog on a leash, so it is not able to run after the cat. If the cat runs and hides, you will need to give the cat some more time to become more comfortable with the idea of having a dog in the home. This is also the case when you bring a new cat into your home where there are already cats. Cats generally do not take well to having any other animals encroaching on their territory.
  • You can also try placing your cat in a crate and introducing it to the dog that way. The cat may feel more secure knowing there is a barrier between it and the dog.
  • Ensure you show each animal the same amount of affection so there is no jealousy that the new addition is getting more attention than them.
  • After a short introduction, it's best if you separate them once again. If they interact too long, this could just them to become exhausted and could lead to them to become adversarial towards each other. It's best to keep the initial visit short and gradually increase the amount of time they interact with each other.
  • Continue the interactions until they become comfortable with each other. You can also ask your veterinarian or go online for pheromones which can aid in keeping your cat and dog calmer.
  • Even after you can have your cat and dog stay in the room together, you will want to keep them separated when you leave the home initially until you are confident your dog will not run after the cat.
  • You will also want to redirect negative behaviour your dog directs at your cat. This includes rough play and barking. If bad behaviour does occur, try to find another activity for your dog so that the attention is no longer on the cat.

Our Home

We had three other cats in our home when we decided to add a fourth cat. First, we brought home a 7-week-old Bengal kitten, and initially, the other cats rejected and were threatened by her, despite her extremely small size.

Our Calico cat, Waffle. She's the current boss in the house.
Our Calico cat, Waffle. She's the current boss in the house.

A week after we brought the kitten into our home, we brought a 4-month-old purebred Lemondrop Beagle pup in. The puppy was the first to interact with the kitten as she was still being rejected by the other cats. The kitten and the puppy became best of friends rather quickly and they are still best friends, often sleeping together. Our dog will protect the Bengal kitten he grew up with, including not letting the other cats on the bed she may be sleeping on. The dog does get along with the other cats but feels somewhat threatened by the larger female Calico, and she is not afraid of dogs.

Cats and Dogs Can Get Along

It can be difficult to get cats and dogs to get along in your home, but it is very possible and with some effort, the relationship between the cats and dogs can be very positive. Ensure your cat has a place to go where it is out of reach of the dog, such as a cat perch. Cats will generally attack a dog when it's backed into a corner and has no way to avoid the dog. Cats can have very sharp claws and seem to know a dog's nose is sensitive. Our Bengal cat that was raised with the puppy will often wrestle with the dog and he allows her to bite his ears and legs and will just pin her down when he's had enough. The play sometimes looks rough, but neither of them does anything intentional to hurt the other.

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions for future posts, please leave them in the comments section below.

Cheers,

GP Joa

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