Despite the stereotypes, cats and dogs can get along. As long as the dog is not too aggressively playful and the cat is confident around other animals, cats and dogs can be good companions for each other.
Choosing Your New Dog or Cat
If you are considering getting a cat as a companion for your dog, ask at the shelter to meet cats that are confident and have some experience of being around dogs. Avoid getting a kitten if your dog is large and rambunctious, as small kittens can be easily hurt. Cats tend to get along better with relatively laid-back dogs who aren’t too much larger in size than themselves.
Bringing Home Your New Dog or Cat
Introducing a new cat or dog into a household that already has a pet can be a worrying time for many owners. The best advice is to take it slowly: just like small children, animals can take some time to get used to each other.
When you bring the new pet home, shut your existing pet in another room to give the new pet a chance to explore their new home in peace. Then restrict the movement of the new pet and give your original pet the chance to roam. This approach gives each pet the chance to get used to the other’s scent
without being scared or overexcited by the presence of the other animal.
Introducing Your Pets
Once the new pet has become comfortable in its new home, it is time to introduce it to the final, four-legged member of the family. It is important to handle this first meeting carefully. Keep the dog on a leash until the two animals are able to be in the same room together without displaying aggression or signs of stress. You might need to keep your pets separated and repeat the leashed introduction several times before they begin to accept each other. Do not let the dog off the leash until the cat is feeling comfortable enough to eat and use the litter box as normal. For the first few weeks, closely supervise all contact between your pets to avoid fights breaking out. Before you know it, they may just end up best friends.
Still having trouble getting your pets to accept each other after following the above advice? Contact a pet trainer who can work with your cat and dog to restore harmony in your home.