Coke and Pepsi, Wile E Coyote and the Road Runner, cats and dogs; as far as famous rivals go, the feud
between canines and felines remain to be one of the most iconic. Their rivalry, caused by natural instinct
and competition for food, has long been featured in pop culture and social media.
What most people do not know is that cats and dogs can live harmoniously under the same roof and a
lot of pet owners have been doing it for years. Of course, several aspects come in to play such as their
introduction, their breeds, the house, and even their owner.
An online survey conducted by The Guardian showed that in 748 homeowners with both cats and dogs,
80% think their pets are comfortable with each other and only 3% felt that they could not stand one
another. Higher aggression was observed among cats that were more likely to threaten or injure their
dog housemates than the other way around.
But before you lock a cat and a dog in a room together, keep in mind that their co-existence can only be
achieved with proper guidance and supervision outlined in a series of steps.
Cohabitation while not impossible, is also not easy. Let them adjust to each other on their own pace.
Rushing could be detrimental and could result in permanent aggression towards each other.
Choose the Right Breed:
Not all cats or dogs are open to living with other pets. If you are still planning on getting both, it would
be better to choose a breed that is more open and friendly. If adopting, communicate closely with the
animal shelter to find the best pet with a personality suitable for, if not, used to co-existence.
Cat breeds proven to be dog-friendly include American Shorthair, Maine Coon, and Ragdoll. It is not
ideal to keep feral cats or those not yet adjusted to the indoor lifestyle, with dogs. Life on the street has
accustomed them to seeing canines as enemies.
Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and Beagles have been known to get along with cats. Stay away from
guard dogs like German Shepherds due to their heightened hunting instincts driving them to catch and
kill creatures they see as prey.
Younger Pets Adjust Better
Puppies and kittens have no bad history with each other yet and tend to be more open. Consider
younger animals as "sponges" that easily learn new information and in situations. You will have better luck introducing younger pets that will grow up next to each other and form a life-long bond.
One thing to look out for is extreme roughhousing. Young puppies seem to have unlimited energy, while
kitties like a pause between each playtime. Make sure you train your dog to play with other toys instead of always disturbing its feline sibling.
Introduce Them Gradually
It is important to introduce your cat and dog to each other slowly. The introduction can take a few days
or as long as several weeks, depending on your pets' response.
Let them be aware of each others presence first – even letting them hear and sniff each other through a
closed door. Then after a few days, let them see each other through a small gap in the door.
Once they are used to one anothers presence, you can keep them in a neutral room for short periods to
see how they would react. Gradually increase the exposure if your pets respond positively.
For safety reasons, keep your dogs leash on to control and limit its movements just in case it tries to
chase the cat.
Never leave them alone in this period. It will take patience, but your patience will be rewarded by sweet
pet cuddles over time.
Give Them Individual Corners
Household pets, cats especially, need their own corner of the house to call their own and run to when
feeling threatened. Keep this safe haven off limits to the other pet while they acclimate to the new place
and their new pet roommate. Place all the pets essentials in the room, like food, water, and toys to
make them feel more secure.
Moreover, set up their feeding area in separate locations. Dogs have a habit of snacking on your cats
food which could be harmful as a cats diet requires more protein and fat.
If your dog is left unsupervised, eating cat food for a long period of time, it could result in nutritional
imbalance and weight gain. To prevent this, place a cats feeding station on an elevated area where your
dog cannot reach it.
After a few days or weeks, your cat and dog will be somewhat tolerant of each others presence. This is
the perfect time to let them be familiar and play around a little bit.
But remember to not leave them alone until you are absolutely sure they are on friendly terms. Not
keeping an eye on them could result in injury or bites which could leave your pet traumatized.
Be a disciplinarian. If you see that one is uncomfortable or in pain, immediately separate them.
Like their introduction, the length of mutual playtime should also be increased gradually as you see
them getting comfortable with one another.
After a while, your cat and dog will get a hang of chasing and running around with each other. Be sure to
keep their claws trimmed. There are high-quality cat nail clippers you can consider. It is also important
to remember that A cat uses its claws as its primary weapon when threatened or stressed and might use
it during innocent horseplay.
Do not declaw your cat no matter how much you think of it as a good idea. A declawed cat will be in
constant pain and will even be more unpredictable when housed with a dog.
If you do not have time to monitor your cats claws, you can use nail caps that coat the claws with blunt
endings. These will last four to six weeks, requires less maintenance than trimming but is not harmful
Do Not Force Closeness
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Lincoln determined that the primary controller of
a cat-dog relationship is the cat. The pets behavior towards one another is heavily influenced by "factors" including the felines age when introduced to the dog and sharing food with the dog.
Dogs have been domesticated longer than cats which could account for their susceptibility for training. Cats, however, are the common underdogs that require more reassurance and attention from their
owners. Thus, the study emphasizes to focus on the cats behavior to improve cat-dog relationships.
Once your cat and dog have learned to co-exist, do not be disappointed if they are not inseparable like
what you see in commercials or movies. Their long history of rivalry cannot be undone with a few weeks
You cannot force your cat and dog to be instant best friends. What you can do is provide an atmosphere
to help their friendship blossom over time.