Cats and dogs have traditionally been portrayed to be bitter rivals in many comics, cartoons, and movies. As a result, a lot of people believe that these animals will never see eye to eye. Many are inclined to think that it’s impossible to raise both cats and dogs under the same roof due to how incompatible their temperaments, habits, and behaviors are.
However, dogs not liking cats (and vice versa) is a common misconception. In truth, cats and dogs can actually get along; it just takes a lot of time, patience, and hard work to make sure that they do. If you think that you’re ready to take on the responsibility of taking care of a dog and cat together, here are a few things you should know to ensure that they can live in perfect harmony:
1) Introducing Them at an Early Age Increases Their Chances of Becoming Best Friends
Young animals are generally more adaptable and curious about their surroundings, making it ideal to introduce your cat and dog while they’re still a kitten and puppy. Letting them meet while they’re still young helps them build a foundation for a strong bond that can positively influence their future relationship. Their eagerness to learn new things can also make the introduction process smoother and the experience more enjoyable for both of them.
All the same, if the introduction isn’t done properly, your furry friends may still have a difficult time getting along. You should be able to supervise each of their interactions to prevent either pet from getting overwhelmed. It’s also in your best interest to reward a puppy or kitten’s good behavior with treats and praise to create a positive association with the other. For this, you’ll want to invest in high-quality pet merchandise like wholesale dog toys, catnip wand toys, and pet treats.
To make things even easier, consider letting them familiarize themselves with each other’s scents by swapping their bedding or toys several times before their actual face-to-face meeting. Puppies and kittens that can recognize each other’s scents will be more at ease in the other’s presence.
2) Cats and Dogs Bond Better if They Share Similar Personalities
While opposites can attract, similarities in temperament often lead to a stronger bond between cats and dogs. Just like humans with complementing personalities, dogs and cats can live in great harmony when they have something in common. Their shared traits can pave the way for more comfortable and easygoing relationships with each other, and a happy pet ownership experience for you and your family.
The way to approach this, however, will depend on your pet situation. For instance, if you already have a dog or cat, it would be good to observe their behaviors and preferences and find a second furry companion that suits their personality. A very shy and reserved cat, for example, is likelier to get along with a dog breed that’s known for a gentle and laid-back temperament.
If you plan to welcome a dog and cat into your home at the same time, make sure to do your research and look for pets that share similar energy levels, play styles, and social tendencies. Don’t hesitate to reach out to fellow pet owners in the same situation who can give you smart tips about letting your cat’s and dog’s personalities play off of each other.
3) Cats and Dogs Need Their Own Designated Spaces to Coexist in Peace
You also need to ensure that both your cat and dog have their own designated spaces within your home if you want them to maintain a good relationship with each other. Either pet can be territorial and will need its own corner to retreat, rest, and feel secure whenever they’re anxious around their counterpart.
It’s in your best interest to provide both your cat and dog with separate spaces for sleeping, feeding, and hiding. This will allow them to coexist peacefully and reduce their likelihood of getting into conflicts. Here’s how to do so:
- Sleeping areas. Get separate beds for your cat and dog, and place them in quiet and comfortable locations where each pet can rest undisturbed.
- Feeding areas. When setting up separate feeding stations for your cat and dog, make sure that each pet has guaranteed access to their food and water bowls to prevent competition during mealtime.
- Areas they can hide. Dogs and cats have different preferences when it comes to places that make them feel secure. Cats appreciate having hiding spots where they can retreat to high places, making cozy cat condos the perfect hideaways for them. Dogs, on the other hand, would prefer a quiet corner in a room where they can relax and have some alone time. Furnish each space with individual items that they’d appreciate, like a soft cat toy for your cat and a blanket for your dog.
4) You Need to Be Financially Prepared to Take Care of a Cat and Dog
Knowing that you’ll have to foot routine veterinary care, daily necessities like food and grooming supplies, and other fixed or unforeseen expenses, you’ll want to be financially prepared to provide the best possible care for your two pets.
Be sure to learn about the costs that both pets will command, such as pet sitting, and costs that may be exclusive to one pet, such as grooming for a dog with a long coat or veterinary care for a cat with a health condition.
5) You Should Be Ready to Recognize and Respect Their Individual Differences
Even if your dog and cat have similar personalities and get along quite well, you have to keep in mind that they’re very different animals. Each pet comes with their unique preferences, behaviors, and communication styles, and this is something that holds true even within a single species.
It’s your duty as their owner to be attentive to their individual differences and to continually adjust your pet parenting approach so that it works for both pets. Learn, for example, how to provide each of them with the right amount of attention and how to interact with them in a way that doesn’t incite competition.
As many other households can prove, it isn’t impossible to oversee a happy household consisting of dogs, cats, and humans—all with their own quirks. Take your duty as the head of this pack as seriously as you can, and soon enough, you may not be able to imagine your family differently without either your cat or dog!
I’m Gary Hu, a proud cat dad to a 15 lb Maine Coon. Have taken care of outdoor and indoor cats for over 10 years, and learned tons on behavior, habits, health, and products. I help new Maine Coon (or any other cat) parents with common questions and issues based on real, practical experience.