While dogs and cats don’t typically get along, it’s actually a myth that the two can’t co-inhabit the same space together happily.
You can have the best of both worlds, you just need to know how to manage both pets so that they both have the opportunity to be healthy and happy.
Animals will always get on more easily if they are introduced from a very early age as they will become more easily desensitized to each other. If, however, your dog or cat is an adult, there are still some things you can do to help the friendship blossom.
Some breeds are supposedly more friendly than others, but really it comes down to personality. Some breeds may be more predisposed to chase a cat, but some early training should counter this out, particularly if they are introduced to cats from an early age.
Just like humans, dogs and cats have their own likes and dislikes. Energy levels should also be thought about, as a high-energy kitten could easily annoy an older dog.
Your pup must learn how to control its impulses. Do they know how to sit and stay? Do they know how to leave? Do they come when you call them? Knowing these vital things could really help you manage their relationship with a cat.
Your dog also needs to be on a lead the first time you introduce them to a new cat, just so you can control the situation. Dogs love a good sniff the first time they meet someone/something new, and cats prefer to sit back with plenty of space to watch from a distance.
Each animal should be comfortable in their environment. A cat needs its own dog-free space where it can rest and feel safe from curious noses. Dogs like to have their own bed or crate they can retire in when they’re tired. Both animals need their own spaces, and both need to be comfortable in their home before you try to introduce them.
Try to decrease your dog’s energy before meeting a cat by taking them out for a good, long walk beforehand.
Try to keep their mind active throughout the day too by giving them plenty of activities to keep them entertained and busy.
It’s a good idea to introduce the dog to the cats bedding, and vice versa so they get used to the scent of each other before being introduced.
For the first introduction, try bringing both pets to each side of a closed door. They will be able to smell and hear one another. Try giving them their evening or morning feed during this time, so they begin to associate their (hopefully) new friend with the positive action of getting fed.
After a week or so, turn it up a notch by having a baby gate/another form of barrier in which they can see each other. By this point, they should be used to eating side by side.
Remember to keep their toys and food separate as they can be the main source of arguments. Don’t leave them unattended together until you’re sure there is no animosity between both pets.