You don’t need to compromise on getting either a cat or a dog if you love both animals—it’s completely possible to have both and help them live together harmoniously. All you need is a bit of patience and unconditional love to maintain a happy, animal-loving home. With some hard work and these tips for helping your cat and dog get along, you can teach your furry babies how to love each other despite their differences.
Give Both Pets Their Own Sanctuary
No matter what personality each animal has, they’re going to want their own space. Your cat may want a fully enclosed room where it can climb, watch birds, and snooze, while your dog is comfortable having a sanctuary in your bedroom. Either way, it’s important to establish differences between their spaces and common areas—no pet should dominate the entire home as its domain.
These sanctuaries are especially important to create when you first adopt the cat or dog. This is its main base while it acclimates to the scents and sounds around it.
Don’t Let Them Meet Face To Face Immediately
You shouldn’t introduce your cat and dog during the stress of their move-in day. Pets have enough to worry about when they move into your house for the first time—it’s a completely new area that they’ve never seen before. A cat especially requires its own enclosed room when it first arrives—even if it’s your only pet.
Because cats scare easily, you may want to keep the dog far away when you bring it home. Consider boarding your dog or leaving it at daycare to wear it out before you have the two meet at home. This way, your cat can sniff around the house without jumping at a bark or whine from another room. Once they’re both at home, you can let them sniff each other through a closed door for a few days as they become familiar and comfortable.
Take It Slow
The two animals aren’t going to fall in love at first sight—it may take days or weeks for them to tolerate each other. You may need to keep your kitty in its room for longer than expected, and that’s okay. Feed the two animals at the same time every day and move their food closer and closer to the door that’s separating them. Once they’re comfortable enough to do that, you can finally allow them to meet in a common area.
Always have your dog on a leash during the meet and greets with the house kitty. There may be some hisses, some barking, and some fluffed up tails—but what’s important is that you don’t react too negatively. If the cat starts hissing, don’t rush in to separate the two immediately. Allow the interaction to play out and give both pets treats once they’re back in their rooms to let them know they did a good job. This is a great way to help your cat and dog get along.