“They fight like cat and dog”, I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, but is it necessarily true? I’ve had cats and dogs who ignore each other completely, occasionally exchanging polite greetings, and one cat who actually preferred cuddling the dogs to cuddling me!
If you’re introducing a cat to your dogs, or a have a cat and want to get a dog, you will have to exercise tact, patience and caution, but the two can become friends as long as cats learn not to scratch dogs and dogs can learn not to chase cats.
Cats usually prefer to run and hide when they see a dog or puppy, so it’s important to be sure your kitty has an escape route, and teach your dog not to give chase.
That’s the point you want to reach with your dog and your cat. When they see each other, they shouldn’t get excited, aggressive or defensive. Once you reach this stage, it’s safe to say that they’ll learn to co-exist and perhaps even become friends.
I’m currently introducing two kittens into my household, and doggie introductions won’t even begin until my boys stop getting excited at the sight of the kittens. The kittens are indoors, and the dogs have their enclosed veranda. When the dogs are let into the house, the kittens are moved to a closed-off room.
In the meanwhile, they catch glimpses of each other through the closed glass doors, and they’re clearly aware of each other’s presence. However, the cats get a fright when they see the dogs, and the dogs get excited when they see the kittens, so the time for face to face introductions has not come yet.
See, smell, but don’t touch
I’m considering getting a baby gate so that kittens and dogs can get ‘face time’ safely. That worked very well for me a few years back. When cat and dogs can ignore one another as ‘part of the furniture’, supervised contact can work, preferably beginning with meetings with the dog safely on a lead.
Cats and puppies
Puppies just want to play, but cats may not understand that. If the cat hurts the puppy, the puppy may retaliate, and you’re off to a bad start that will make your task harder. Keep puppy on a leash when in the presence of the cat until he can ignore kitty. And although it may look cute, don’t allow puppy to attempt rough play with the cat.
Cats and dogs really can live together in harmony, but a lot of that depends on how their owners handle the introductions.